Fluorine in the early universe

Using ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), a team of astronomers has detected fluorine in a galaxy far, far away: its light reached us after a journey of over 12 billion years.
What we see of the NGP-190387 galaxy is a large cloud of gas crystallized at the time when the universe was only 1.4 billion years old. And since stars shed chemical elements into their surroundings only when they reach the end of their life, which generally ends explosively, the detection of fluorine in the gases of NGP-190387 implies that the stars in the galaxy must have lived relatively short lives. In particular these characteristics are possessed by the Wolf–Rayet stars.
Furthermore, the levels of fluorine in NGP-190387 (the first galaxy after the Milky Way where this chemical element was observed) are comparable to those of our galaxy, with the difference that the latter is older than a dozen and more than billions of years compared to NGP-190387.
We have shown that Wolf–Rayet stars, which are among the most massive stars known and can explode violently as they reach the end of their lives, help us, in a way, to maintain good dental health!
- Maximilien Franco from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK
(ESO's press release)

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