Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 2019 May 08
Instead of ballooning into spheres, as once thought, early supernovae ejected jets that may have seeded new stars.
Several hundred million years after the Big Bang, the very first stars flared into the universe as massively bright accumulations of hydrogen and helium gas. Within the cores of these first stars, extreme, thermonuclear reactions forged the first heavier elements, including carbon, iron, and zinc.
These first stars were likely immense, short-lived fireballs, and scientists have assumed that they exploded as similarly spherical supernovae.
But now astronomers at MIT and elsewhere have found that these first stars may have blown apart in a more powerful, asymmetric fashion, spewing forth jets that were violent enough to eject heavy elements into neighboring galaxies. These elements ultimately served as seeds for the second generation of stars, some of which can still be observed today.
In a paper published today in the Astrophysical Journal, the researchers report a strong abundance of zinc in HE 1327-2326, an ancient, surviving star that is among the universe’s second generation of stars. They believe the star could only have acquired such a large amount of zinc after an asymmetric explosion of one of the very first stars had enriched its birth gas cloud. ...
Evidence for an Aspherical Population III Supernova Explosion
Inferred from the Hyper-metal-poor Star HE 1327–2326 ~ Rana Ezzeddine et al