released December 30, 2016
Album art from Archive.org:
Artist's Concept of Early Universe
by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Topics What -- Hubble Space Telescope (HST), What -- Earth, What -- Sun, Where -- Milky Way Galaxy
This is an artist's impression of how the very early universe (less than one billion years old) might have looked when it went through a voracious onset of star formation, converting primordial hydrogen into myriad stars at an unprecedented rate. The deepest views of the cosmos from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) yield clues that the very first stars may have burst into the universe as brilliantly and spectacularly as a firework finale. Except in this case, the finale came first, long before Earth, the Sun ,and the Milky Way Galaxy formed. Studies of HST's deepest views of the heavens lead to the preliminary conclusion that the universe made a significant portion of its stars in a torrential firestorm of star birth, which abruptly lit up the pitch-dark heavens just a few hundred million years after the "big bang," the tremendous explosion that created the cosmos. Within the starburst galaxies, bright knots of hot blue stars come and go like bursting fireworks shells. Regions of new starbirth glow intensely red under torrent of ultraviolet radiation. The most massive stars self-detonate as supernovas, which explode across the sky like a string of firecrackers. A foreground starburst galaxy at lower right is sculpted with hot bubbles from supernova explosions and torrential stellar winds. Unlike today there is very little dust in these galaxies, because the heavier elements have not yet been cooked up through nucleosynthesis in stars. Recent analysis of HST deep sky images supports the theory that the first stars in the universe appeared in an abrupt eruption of star formation, rather than at a gradual pace. Science Credit: NASA and K. Lanzetta (SUNY). Artwork Credit: Adolf Schaller for STScI.
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