Scientists from the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas are once again discussing the idea of building a large telescope on the moon. This will allow to see the first stars in the universe, experts say.
A group of astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin discovered that the idea of a telescope, postponed by NASA ten years ago, can solve a problem that no Earth telescope can: to study the first days of the universe. The team, led by Hubble mission researcher Anna Schauer, will publish its results in the next issue of the Astrophysical Journal.
“Throughout the history of astronomy, telescopes have become increasingly powerful, enabling us to explore sources from earlier cosmic times – increasingly closer to the Big Bang. But theory predicts that there were even earlier times when galaxies did not yet exist, but when individual stars – the elusive stars of generation III – first formed. This moment of “the very first light” is beyond the capabilities of even the powerful James Webb, instead we need a more perfect telescope,” said Professor and team member Volker Bromm.
These first stars formed about 13 billion years ago. They’re unique, born of a mixture of hydrogen and helium gases and probably tens or hundreds of times larger than the Sun. New calculations show that the previously proposed liquid reflector telescope, which will work from the surface of the Moon, can study these stars. The project was proposed in 2008 by a group of Roger Angel from the University of Arizona, this object was called the Lunar Liquid Mirror Telescope (LLMT). The team proposes to revive the idea and implement the project in the future.