Stars and lumps

 
Published: Monday 31 January 2000

The Cosmic Background Explorer satellite has discovered the infrared glow of the universe's first generation of stars and galaxies. But its small telescopes could not pick up the "lumps" that indicate the structure of the primordial star systems. Now, two astronomers have found the lumps after analysing data from the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory. It is assumed that galaxies in the process of star formation form these lumps. Interestingly, the data shows that the lumps were already intense in the first billion years of the universe's history, while previously it was thought that star formation started much later ( Science , Vol 286, No 5444).

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