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?

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

Can Webb Find the First Stars in the Universe?

The Universe’s very first stars had an important job. They formed from the primordial elements created by the Big Bang, so they contained no metals. It was up to them to synthesize the first metals and spread them out into the nearby Universe.

The JWST has made some progress in finding the Universe’s earliest galaxies. Can it have the same success when searching for the first stars?

Continue reading “Can Webb Find the First Stars in the Universe?”