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Extremely metal-poor star that shouldn't exist found in the constellation of Leo.

Washington, Sept 1 (ANI): Scientists have discovered a faint star called SDSS J102915+172927, which have the lowest amount of metals of all stars yet studied, in the constellation of Leo (The Lion).

It has a mass smaller than that of the Sun and is probably more than 13 billion years old.

"A widely accepted theory predicts that stars like this, with low mass and extremely low quantities of metals, shouldn't exist because the clouds of material from which they formed could never have condensed," said Elisabetta Caffau, Zentrum fur Astronomie der Universitat Heidelberg, Germany and Observatoire de Paris, France, and lead author of the study.

"It was surprising to find, for the first time, a star in this 'forbidden zone', and it means we may have to revisit some of the star formation models," she stated.

The team analysed the properties of the star using the X-shooter and UVES instruments on the VLT. This allowed them to measure how abundant the various chemical elements were in the star.

They found that the proportion of metals in SDSS J102915+172927 is more than 20 000 times smaller than that of the Sun.

"The star is faint, and so metal-poor that we could only detect the signature of one element heavier than helium - calcium - in our first observations," said Piercarlo Bonifacio, Observatoire de Paris, France, who supervised the project.

Lorenzo Monaco (ESO, Chile), also involved in the study, indicated, "The star we have studied is extremely metal-poor, meaning it is very primitive. It could be one of the oldest stars ever found."

Also very surprising was the lack of lithium in SDSS J102915+172927. Such an old star should have a composition similar to that of the Universe shortly after the Big Bang, with a few more metals in it.

But the team found that the proportion of lithium in the star was at least fifty times less than expected in the material produced by the Big Bang.

"It is a mystery how the lithium that formed just after the beginning of the Universe was destroyed in this star," Bonifacio added. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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