• Question: How did the first star form?

    Asked by King LillEm to Tim, Stephen on 14 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Tim Duckenfield

      Tim Duckenfield answered on 14 Mar 2018:

      To answer this question we would need to understand how the universe looked just after the Big Bang, and scientists don’t agree on exactly what it looked like! We know that nowadays stars are formed when giant clouds of dust start clumping together, due to gravity, then start spinning and heating up. But in the beginning of the universe, we don’t think there was separate dust and space, everything was all squeezed really close together.

      We think the first stars must have been bigger and brighter than the ones that exist nowadays. Back then all elements heavier than helium wouldn’t have existed, because all elements like carbon, oxygen, iron, nitrogen were all made when these first stars died! This means that you, and our entire solar system, are literally made of stardust!!!! Maybe a black hole was made first, which is an especially big star so heavy that light cannot escape its gravity. Hopefully with bigger and better telescopes we might be able to see far enough away to spot a really old star…