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Q: oldest lithium free star recently discovered ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: oldest lithium free star recently discovered
Category: Science > Astronomy
Asked by: remo777-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 04 Nov 2002 13:25 PST
Expires: 04 Dec 2002 13:25 PST
Question ID: 98588
I am trying to find a picture to download of the 14 billion year old
lithium free star HE0107-5240 that was just disacovered, but am having
no luck.

Request for Question Clarification by rbnn-ga on 04 Nov 2002 13:41 PST

There are a number of sites that have basically the same picture, for
instance: .
Is that picture sufficient?

I would be pretty surprised if a much better one could be found,
because news organizations like to lead with the best picture, and
about 8 such organizations all use that picture.

But I did inquire of Christlieb anyway.
Subject: Re: oldest lithium free star recently discovered
Answered By: rbnn-ga on 04 Nov 2002 22:14 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
If you would like further information on anything  in this answer, or
if you have any questions, please use the "Request Clarification"
button in your browser, before rating the question, to request

Thank you for this question regarding the star HE0107-5240 . 

The star was discovered by a team led by Norbert Christlieb of the
University of Hamburg, Germany.

HE0107-5240 is located 36000 lightyears away in the southern
constellation Phoenix (Nature, ) . "To find a star
with 20 times less metal than any previously found is astounding" says
Catherine  Pilachowski...It contains a striking excess of nitrogen and
carbon" (ibid). This publicly viewable nature article, by the way, is
the best free source of information I have been able to find on the

Detailed information on the discovery of this star was reported in

Christlieb, N. et al. A stellar relic from the early Milky Way.
Nature, 419, 904-906, (2002).

However, access to this article online requires purchase. I will
endeavour to visit the library tomorrow to determine whether they have
a copy; I may be able to summarize their findings.

There are numerous reports of this star in the popular press, such as:


Small picture here:

Similar picture and spectral lines:


Because all of these pictures are pretty much the same, I endeavored
to look for better pictures.

I contacted the discoverer of the star. He sent me a postscript
picture, which contains the J2000 coordinates 01 09 29.1 -52 24 34 .
It's just a grayscale picture, it's not as appealing to the lay person
as the public pictures above.

He also recommended I use Aladin, a publically viewable sky atlas at: , where one can use web
interfaces to publicly available imaging surveys.

I logged into Aladin, but it is a Java applet, and like most Java
applets, didn't work very well on machine with IE 6 . Therefore, I
followed the links on Aladin, and I downloaded their software as a
Java application to run locally on my machine.
I ran the software and input the above coordinates into the J2000 box
and did indeed get a black-and-white picture. (Remember, usually the
nice "colors" one sees of far away stars are not the "real" colors of
the image, since the telescope taking the picture is typically using
some other wavelength than visible, among other things).

Meanwhile, I will do three more things:

 1. I will go the library tomorrow to check the Nature article to see
what other information about the star I can find.

 2. I will investigate options for how I could upload a picture,
namely the one the discoverer, Dr. Christlieb, sent me, so that you
can view it. I have no idea how long this will take or if it will

 3. I will explore Aladin a bit more to see if I can get fancier
pictures. However, my knowledge of astronomy is insufficient for this
to have a very good chance of success.

Search on HE0107-5240 turned up the articles listed above. 

I found Aladin and the postscript picture by contacting Dr. Christlieb
directly, who directed me to Aladin. I obtained his address from the
Nature article.

I also perused his website at: and a
number of other astronomical websites.

Clarification of Answer by rbnn-ga on 04 Nov 2002 23:45 PST
I found a slightly better picture on the web at,%20an%20arrow%20points%20to%20the%20very%20metal-deficient%20star%20HE0107-5240.

Also, I have uploaded three images for you to download: 

The first two I generated myself from Aladin, by typing in the star
coordinates in J2000 format (it is pretty much the same image in grey
scale as the picture above).

The first is a simple grey scale, the second I played around with the
RGB mapper in Aladin to get it to look a little bit better and I
zoomed in some more.

The third is the picture I obtained from the discoverer in postscript
format. If you do not have a postscript viewer, one can be downloaded,
although I would need to know your machine; alternatively, you might
want just to send it to a postscript printer.

I will leave these up for a day or two.

Clarification of Answer by rbnn-ga on 06 Nov 2002 06:06 PST
I have some minor new information and a slightly simpler way to

One of the difficulties I had at first viewing this star is that its
name was not in the Aladin database, so I had to track down its J2000
01 09 29.1 -52 24 34 .

I contacted the Aladin database at the University of Strasbourg about
it and received this email:
Dear Sir,

Thank you for the lot of information you sent me. I was then able to
identify this star and to update a few days in advance our database.
Thanks for your help.


Thus, you can now use the star's name, and not coordinates: just go to , click on Aladin, (if you have Java),
select "Load", and input the star's name, then click submit. [If this
does not work, I suggest using the application, not the applet, as
described above; I am not a great fan of applets anyway.]

In addition to the fact that yo can now use the star name, I thought
that you would be pleased that your question resulted in the star's
name being added early to a major astronomical database (ok, only a
few days early, but still :- ) .
remo777-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Iwas very pleased with the exceptionally thorough research on an
esoteric question.  May the hypertext be with you!

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