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SMSS J031300.36−670839.3 (shortened as SMSS J0313−6708;[3] informally abbreviated to SM0313[4]) is a star in the Milky Way at a distance of 6,000 ly (1,800 pc) from Earth. With an age of approximately 13.6 billion years,[5] it is one of the oldest stars known. Another star, HD 140283, is considered to be older, but there is uncertainty in values of its age. This makes SM0313 the oldest known star with an accurate determination of its age.[2][6][7] The star formed only about 100 million years after the Big Bang, and has been shining for 13.6 billion years. The star's very low upper limit of iron of less than one ten millionth the iron level of the Sun,[8] suggests that it is one of the first Population II stars, formed from a gas cloud enriched by some of the very first (Population III) stars.[6] SMSS J031300.36-670839.3 also has a much higher carbon supply compared to iron, more than a thousand times greater.[6] Apart from hydrogen, which appeared in the Big Bang, the star also contains carbon, magnesium, and calcium which could have been formed in a low energy supernova.[8] Methylidyne (CH) is also detected by its absorption line. No oxygen or nitrogen have been detected.[1] The star is a K class red giant.[2]

SMSS J031300.36−670839.3
Observation data
Epoch J2000.0      Equinox J2000.0
Constellation Hydrus
Right ascension  03h 13m 00.36s[1]
Declination −67° 08′ 39.3″[1]
Apparent magnitude (V) 14.7[1]
Evolutionary stage red giant[1]
Spectral type K9 V[2]
Distance6000 ly
(1800 pc)
Surface gravity (log g)2.3[1] cgs
Temperature5,125[1] K
Metallicity [Fe/H]≤−7.1 (<3D>,nLTE)[1] dex
Age13.6 Gyr
Other designations
SMSS J0313-6708,[3] SMSS 0313−6708, SMSS J031300.36−670839.3
Database references

The star was discovered by a team led by Australian National University astronomers.[7] The discovery was reported in Nature on 9 February 2014[1] and indicates that the supernovae of the first generation of stars may not have been as powerful as previously thought.[6]

The discovery was made possible by the SkyMapper,[7] a fully automated optical telescope at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia.[8] SkyMapper was built to replace the Great Melbourne Telescope at Mount Stromlo after that telescope was burnt in the 2003 Canberra bushfires.[9] Its purpose was to do whole sky surveys.

Elemental abundance compared to Sun[1]
Elements [M/H]
Lithium 0.7
Carbon −2.6
Magnesium −3.8
Calcium −7

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Keller, S. C.; Bessell, M. S.; Frebel, A.; Casey, A. R.; Asplund, M.; Jacobson, H. R.; Lind, K.; Norris, J. E.; Yong, D.; Heger, A.; Magic, Z.; Da Costa, G. S.; Schmidt, B. P.; Tisserand, P. (2014). "A single low-energy, iron-poor supernova as the source of metals in the star SMSS J031300.36−670839.3". Nature. 506 (7489): 463–466. arXiv:1402.1517. Bibcode:2014Natur.506..463K. doi:10.1038/nature12990. PMID 24509711.
  2. ^ a b c Gary, S. (12 February 2014). "Oldest known star reveals early Universe". StarStuff. ABC Science. Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  3. ^ a b The Kavli Foundation (24 September 2014). "Most metal-poor star hints at universe's first supernovae". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
  4. ^ Kooser, A. (10 February 2014). "Astronomers track down oldest known star in the universe". CNET. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  5. ^ Nicholson, L. (10 February 2014). "New star found by ANU researchers may lead to universal truth". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  6. ^ a b c d "Researchers identify one of the earliest stars in the universe". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  7. ^ a b c Brainard, C. (10 February 2014). "The Archaeology of the Stars". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  8. ^ a b c Keller, S. (10 February 2014). "The oldest star discovery tells much about the early universe". The Conversation Media Group. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  9. ^ Miller, B. (25 May 2009). "SkyMapper telescope to explore southern sky". ABC PM. Retrieved 2012-04-17.

Coordinates:   03h 13m 00.36s, −67° 08′ 39.3″