A Fossil Galaxy Packed with Dark Matter Is a Window to the Ancient Universe

Posted by K R on

Just a month ago, Australian scientists introduced the oldest star on the books, which is barely younger than the universe itself. But a new study led by MIT professor Anna Frebel has already one-upped that discovery. Published in The Astrophysical Journal, the MIT paper found that the ancient galaxy known as Segue 1 may actually be “a surviving first galaxy that experienced only one burst of star formation.” It turns out the sky is full of senior stars, if you know how to look for them. The MIT team definitely knew how to look for them, though studying Segue 1 presents its fair share of challenges. The whole galaxy has a luminosity less than a single red giant, plus it's over 75,000 light years from Earth. All that adds up to making it the darkest galaxy ever found. Needless to say, some special equipment was required. The team collected its data from two world-class echelle spectrographs—the Magellan/MIKE in Chile's Las Campanas Observatory and the Keck/HIRES in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Using these top-notch facilities, Frebel and her colleagues were able to obtain high resolution spectra from six red giant stars in the galaxy. Read more at Motherboard.

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