The Large Magellanic Cloud isn’t Very Metal

This image shows the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in the sky over the ESO's Paranal Observatory and the four telescopes of the VLT. Image Credit: By ESO/J. Colosimo -, CC BY 4.0,

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is the Milky Way’s most massive satellite galaxy. Because it’s so easily observed, astronomers have studied it intently. They’re interested in how star formation in the LMC might have been different than in the Milky Way.

A team of researchers zeroed in on the LMC’s most metal-deficient stars to find out how different.

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Even if We Can’t See the First Stars, We Could Detect Their Impact on the First Galaxies

Population III stars were the Universe's first stars. They were extremely massive, luminous stars, and many of them exploded as supernovae. How did they shape the early galaxies? Image Credit: DALL-E

For a long time, our understanding of the Universe’s first galaxies leaned heavily on theory. The light from that age only reached us after travelling for billions of years, and on the way, it was obscured and stretched into the infrared. Clues about the first galaxies are hidden in that messy light. Now that we have the James Webb Space Telescope and its powerful infrared capabilities, we’ve seen further into the past—and with more clarity—than ever before.

The JWST has imaged some of the very first galaxies, leading to a flood of new insights and challenging questions. But it can’t see individual stars.

How can astronomers detect their impact on the Universe’s first galaxies?

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