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How did the first stars form?

  1. Nov 5, 2014 #1
    I was watching Nova Science Now and they were talking about how stars form when gas clouds are compacted when hit by supernova shockwaves, which then allows them to compress further by their own gravity and eventually they ignite. But I was left wondering how then the first stars were able to form. Since there were no previous stars to go supernova and provide compression to hydrogen gas clouds, how did the first stars manage to create themselves in the first place? Thanks for any responses.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2014 #2


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    Supernova shock compression is not the only process that can lead to star formation. In general, protostellar gas clouds are in equilibrium between their own gravity and thermal pessure. Anything that can compress or cool the gas may disrupt the equilibrium state and trigger star formation process.

    Having said that, the formation of population III stars(i.e., the first ones) is not yet well understood.
    Here's what you get if you type "population III star formation" in arxiv:
    http://arxiv.org/find/all/1/ti: AND formation AND star AND population III/0/1/0/all/0/1

    Most of the papers are rather technical, but even just skimming the abstracts can give you a better idea of what people have been looking into regarding possible mechanisms.
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