Blast waves from supernovae kickstarted star formation in early galaxies

June 17th, 2008 - 12:33 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 17 (ANI): Scientists have developed a computer simulation which shows that blast waves from the first supernovae kickstarted star formation in galaxies in the early universe.

According to a report in New Scientist, Daniel Whalen of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and colleagues developed the simulation.

Protogalaxies present 100 to 200 million years after the big bang were thought to have had only a handful of stars each, as elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were scarce.

These heavier elements, which are forged in stars, help clumps of gas contract to form more stars.

Now, the computer simulation developed by Whalen and colleagues shows blast waves from the first supernovae mixing heavier elements into the surrounding gas and breaking it into clumps ripe for forming stars.

An entire new generation of stars may form directly in the debris, said Whalen.

This could have led to protogalaxies glittering with hundreds of stars.

The findings from the simulation allow the possibility that the first primitive galaxies formed sooner, with greater numbers of stars and distinct chemical abundance patterns, than in current models. (ANI)

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