Scientists detect starlight from first stars in the universe

  • Updated: November 10, 2012 - 3:56 PM
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Researchers report detecting light from 500 million years after the Big Bang using the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

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Ancient starlight, emitted by the first stars in the universe, has been detected using the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Marco Ajello, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues report the finding in the journal Science. "These were probably the very first objects to form in our universe," said Ajello, who conducted the research at Stanford. "They formed just about 500 million years after the Big Bang." Scientists suggest that the Big Bang occurred about 13 billion years ago. Although those original stars are long gone, the light from them is still traveling to us, Ajello said. Researchers used gamma rays to measure the ancient starlight, which would otherwise be overpowered by the light from our own galaxy. He said, "Since the universe is always expanding, the best way to measure is to go as early as possible in the history of the universe."

NEW YORK TIMES

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