Some of the oldest stars in the universe have been found at the edge of the Milky Way – and they may not be the only ones

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There could be three alien stars around the Milky Way some of the oldest ever found in the universe, a new study reveals. The ancient celestial bodies may have been among the first to form after the Big Bang, and were likely stolen by our galaxy during gravitational battles billions of years ago.

In the study, published May 14 in the journal Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers have reanalyzed three previously observed stars, each located about 30,000 light-years from Earth, in the Milky Way’s halo: a vast cloud of stars orbiting outside our Milky Way’s main galactic disk. The basic chemical composition of these stars suggests that they are all between 12 and 13 billion years old, making them almost as old as the universe itself, which formed about 13.8 billion years ago.

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