Lightweight Star Should Not Exist

Astronomers have found a mysterious star that is made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium gas. According to naturalistic star formation theories, the star shouldn't exist, since it is missing massive quantities of heavier elements like oxygen, carbon, and iron, as well as lightweight lithium. According to the Bible's account of star formation, however, the existence of such a star is no puzzle at all.

In their study published in Nature, researchers determined the makeup of the star, named SDSS J102915+ 172927, by analyzing the light it emitted. Lead author Elisabetta Caffau said in a European Southern Observatory press release, "A widely accepted theory predicts that stars like this, with low mass and extremely low quantities of metals, shouldn't exist because the clouds of material from which they formed could never have condensed."1

But physics clearly shows that stars cannot form from clouds without miraculously fortuitous events.2 In order for a cloud of hot gas to condense into a star, heat must somehow escape. The denser the cloud particles become, the hotter they get, thus repelling one another so strongly that they would never condense into a star on their own.

In their recent report, the researchers theorized that "the fine structure lines of ionized carbon and neutral oxygen" might dissipate enough of the cloud's heat for it to condense into a star if the cloud were compressed by a nearby star explosion.3 But this "freakish star" does not have nearly enough carbon or oxygen to indicate that it ever could have formed this way. Proportionately, it has 20,000 times fewer metals than the sun.1

Remarkably, it also had no detectable lithium, which is thought to have been the third most abundant element present in the cloud from which this star supposedly formed. To rescue naturalistic formation theories of this star's birth, the study authors had to speculate that the star was at one time super-heated enough to burn off all the lithium, but the physical "reasons for this meltdown are not understood."3

Since this star's attributes fly so squarely in the face of standard models of physics, the study authors even entertained a "new physics" that describes "a different Big Bang nucleosynthesis [formation of heavy elements]."3 But why grasp at a flimsy reworking of physics when the star is clearly best explained by a metaphysical origin?

When all options inside the realm of physics fail to explain a phenomenon, then options outside of physics should be considered. And in this case, the Word from the One who exists outside of physical space specifically states "[God] made the stars."4 It stands to reason, then, that these stars "declare the glory of God" by confounding man's attempts to replace God with physics.5


  1. The Star That Should Not Exist. European Southern Observatory press release, August 31, 2011.
  2. Thomas, B. Does a Distant Galaxy Show Star Formation? ICR News. Posted on March 29, 2010, accessed September 1, 2011.
  3. Caffau, E. et al. 2011. An extremely primitive star in the Galactic halo. Nature. 477 (7362): 67-69.
  4. Genesis 1:16.
  5. Psalm 19:1.

Image credit: ESO/E. Caffau. This is the spectrum of the "star that should not exist."

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on September 14, 2011.

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