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Friday, 13 May 2016

Rare blue galaxy may shed new light on Big Bang

WASHINGTON: Astronomers have discovered a faint blue galaxy about 30 million light-years from Earth that could shed new light on conditions at the birth of the universe. The galaxy nicknamed Leoncino, or "little lion," located in the constellation Leo Minor, contains the lowest level of heavy chemical elements, or "metals" ever observed in a gravitationally bound system of stars . "Finding the most metal-poor galaxy ever is exciting since it could help contribute to a quantitative test of the Big Bang," said John J Salzer, a professor at Indiana University in the US. In astronomy, any element other than hydrogen or helium is referred to as a metal. The elemental make-up of metal-poor galaxies is very close to that of the early universe. "Low metal abundance is essentially a sign that very little stellar activity has taken place compared to most galaxies," said lead author Alec S Hirschauer, a graduate student at Indiana University.

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