NASA Studies Stars in Nearby Galaxy to Learn More About the Early Universe

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The Universe has been around for at least 13.7 billion years, meaning the time that passed since the Big Bang event. Even though some scientists might not be willing to admit it directly, it’s almost certain that something else existed before the Big Bang. The problem is that, for the moment, it’s impossible for astronomers to find out what it could be, but we can realistically hope that science will provide a compelling answer in the future.

Instead, astronomers can still take a good look into the early Universe, meaning the first billion years or hundreds of millions of years that passed after the Big Bang. They have the right tools to do it. One way they tried to achieve such a goal recently is by exploiting the powers of NASA’s Hubble telescope.

Eyes set on the Small Magellanic Cloud

SciTechDaily reveals that astronomers focused their attention on the Small Magellanic Cloud, which is a small galaxy orbiting our own Milky Way. The goal was to understand more about some of the first stars that illuminated the Cosmos.

Researchers discovered that stars form in the Small Magellanic Cloud in a similar way as they do in our own Milky Way galaxy. They studied the phenomenon in two rounds. First, using NASA’s Hubble telescope. And second, using the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory. Young stars revolving in the center of the NGC 346 star cluster from the Small Magellanic Cloud were discovered.

A good part of the cluster is suspected of feeding star formation in a motion of gas and stars that resemble a river, meaning an efficient way of fueling star birth.

Elena Sabbi, the leader of the study and also a scientist from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, explained, as SciTechDaily quotes:

“Stars are the machines that sculpt the Universe. We would not have life without stars, and yet we don’t fully understand how they form,

“We have several models that make predictions, and some of these predictions are contradictory. We want to determine what is regulating the process of star formation, because these are the laws that we need to also understand what we see in the early Universe.”

The new research was published in The Astrophysical Journal.