Chemical elements in a distant gas cloud

This artist’s impression shows a distant gas cloud that contains different chemical elements, illustrated here with schematic representations of various atoms.

Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, astronomers have detected three distant gas clouds whose chemical composition matches what we expect from the explosions of the first stars that appeared in the Universe. These early stars can be studied indirectly by analysing the chemical elements they dispersed into the surrounding environment after they died in supernova explosions. The three distant gas clouds detected in this study are rich in carbon, oxygen, and magnesium, but poor in iron. This is exactly the signature expected from the explosions of the first stars.


ESO/L. Calçada, M. Kornmesser

About the Image

Release date:3 May 2023, 14:00
Related releases:eso2306
Size:5000 x 3000 px

About the Object

Type:Early Universe : Cosmology

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