Scientists have detected a signal from what may be the universe’s first stars, which started shining about 180 million years after the Big Bang, reports Space.com. The signal was so strong, scientists think it may have been caused by early star material interacting with dark matter.
Why it matters: "It’s quite possible that this is worth two Nobel Prizes,” if the interpretation is correct, theoretical astrophysicist Avi Loeb of Harvard University told Science News. One prize for finding cosmic dawn, and another because of the implications for understanding dark matter.
Prior to the revelation, the oldest stars ever seen date to about 400 million years after the Big Bang. Judd Bowman, the lead author of the study and an astronomer at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, told Space.com that the detected signals will allow scientists to better understand about when and how stars were formed in the earlier times.
Yes, but: "[F]or the discovery to be rock-solid, another research group needs to spot the signal as well," writes Space.com's Mike Wall.