The first stars in the cosmos may have topped out at over 10,000 times the mass of the sun, roughly 1,000 times bigger than the biggest stars alive today, a new study has found.
Nowadays, the biggest stars are 100 solar masses. But the early universe was a far more exotic place, filled with mega-giant stars that lived fast and died very, very young, the researchers found.
And once these doomed giants died out, conditions were never right for them to form again.
More than 13 billion years ago, not long after the Big Bang, the universe had no stars. There was nothing more than a warm soup of neutral gas, almost entirely made up of hydrogen and helium. Over hundreds of millions of years, however, that neutral gas began to pile up into increasingly dense balls of matter. This period is known as the cosmic Dark Ages. [Continue reading…]