The First Generations of Stars

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Science  15 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5733, pp. 390-391
DOI: 10.1126/science.1114671

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The first stars in our universe that formed shortly after the Big Bang were probably very massive and short-lived. Their demise is believed to have spawned a second generation of stars, which recorded the elemental compositions of their progenitors. Some of these second-generation stars may still be detectable today. In his Perspective, Beers discusses the report by Iwamoto et al. , who have modeled the elemental abundances of the two most iron-poor stars known today. These stars may be representatives of the second generation of stars. According to the model of Iwamoto et al., the detailed abundance patterns of these stars indicate that first-generation stars may have included objects with masses as low as 25 times the solar mass.