This is the apparatus used by researchers in the lab to simulate the chemistry of the early universe (not your typical telescope).
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Image Courtesy of Daniel Wolf Savin, Columbia University
A Star Is Born... But How?
Daniel Wolf Savin, a senior research scientist at Columbia University's Astrophysics Laboratory, has published a paper on the research he and his colleagues have done on how stars began. In their research, the scientists identified the key chemical reactions that needed to be better understood so they could create a better model of the formation of the first stars.
Once they determined what they needed to study, they built an apparatus to measure the reaction of the materials that created the first stars. Once they measured the reaction, they calculated it.
They learned that hydrogen and helium produced all other elements in the universe. This happened in the first three minutes after the Big Bang and stars made this possible. Through nuclear fusion, stars generated elements such as carbon and oxygen and all the other raw materials necessary for making planets and life. But how did the first stars come to be? It all depends on hydrogen atoms coming together to form hydrogen molecules.
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