The first stars to come into being in this universe have long since vanished. The universe is thought to be about 14.5 billion years old, and these early stars might only have burned for a few million years. Assuming both to be true (which current science believes), direct observation of early stars is obviously not possible. The only way to study or learn about them is to use thought experiments and build models. This research represents a leap forward in that effort.
"Star light, star bright. The first star grew fast, but began slight. The first cosmological object formed in the universe was a tiny protostar with a mass of about 1 percent of our sun, according to U.S. and Japanese researchers who spent years developing a complex computer simulation of what it was like after the Big Bang that formed the universe.
This protostar was surrounded by a giant mass of gas and it grew to 100 times the sun's mass over about 10,000 years, according to Naoki Yoshida of Nagoya University in Japan. That is very rapid growth on a cosmic scale.
The study may prove to be a "Cosmic Rosetta stone" suggested Volker Bromm, an assistant astronomy professor at the University of Texas.
Bromm, who was not part of the research team, said in a commentary that the findings could help researchers finally unlock the problem of understanding star formation, much as the Rosetta stone led to the understanding of ancient Egyptian writing."