A metal-poor star with abundances from a pair-instability supernova

Qian Fan Xing, Gang Zhao, Zheng Wei Liu, Alexander Heger, Zhan Wen Han, Wako Aoki, Yu Qin Chen, Miho N. Ishigaki, Hai Ning Li, Jing Kun Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The most massive and shortest-lived stars dominate the chemical evolution of the pre-galactic era. On the basis of numerical simulations, it has long been speculated that the mass of such first-generation stars was up to several hundred solar masses1–4. The very massive first-generation stars with a mass range from 140 to 260 solar masses are predicted to enrich the early interstellar medium through pair-instability supernovae (PISNe)5. Decades of observational efforts, however, have not been able to uniquely identify the imprints of such very massive stars on the most metal-poor stars in the Milky Way6,7. Here we report the chemical composition of a very metal-poor (VMP) star with extremely low sodium and cobalt abundances. The sodium with respect to iron in this star is more than two orders of magnitude lower than that of the Sun. This star exhibits very large abundance variance between the odd- and even-charge-number elements, such as sodium/magnesium and cobalt/nickel. Such peculiar odd–even effect, along with deficiencies of sodium and α elements, are consistent with the prediction of primordial pair-instability supernova (PISN) from stars more massive than 140 solar masses. This provides a clear chemical signature indicating the existence of very massive stars in the early universe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712–715
Number of pages4
Issue number7966
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2023
  • ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions

    Kewley, L., Stuart B Wyithe, J., Sadler, E. M., Staveley-Smith, L., Glazebrook, K., Jackson, C., Bland-Hawthorn, J., Asplund, M. B., Trott, C. M., Webster, R., trenti, M., Colless, M., Croom, S., Ryan-Weber, E. V., Power, C., Croton, D. J., Driver, S., Abraham, R., Ball, L., Bunker, A., Couch, W., Dalcanton, J., Davies, R. L., Gaensler, B. M., Hopkins, A., Kirby, E., Koribalski, B., Li, D., Christopher Martin, D., Morales, M. F., Morganti, R., Springel, V., Wise, M. W. & Karakas, A.

    Monash University – Internal Faculty Contribution


    Project: Research

Cite this