Astronomers recently came across an ancient star that’s almost 14 billion years old. They referred to it as a time machine because it contained the remains of other ancient stars that were created shortly after the universe was formed.

According to Dr. Thomas Nordlander, an astronomer from the Australian National University, he and his colleagues discovered the star nestled in the Milky Way galaxy and located about 35,000 light-years from Earth.

The star, which has been named SMSS J160540.18-144323.1, contained traces of other older stars. According to the astronomers, these stars, which are most likely the parents or ancestors of the newly-discovered star, died following a massive supernova.

Due to the traces of the dead stars found inside SMSS J160540.18-144323.1, they described it as a time machine.

“We’ve found a time machine that takes us back to the universe’s earliest stars,” Nordlander said in a statement. “The pattern of elements we found in the star in our galaxy reveals traces of its ancestor. That long-dead star exploded as a supernova – a fairly feeble one at that too.”

Compared to other stellar objects, Nordlander noted that the star he and his team found had the lowest iron levels. The astronomers said that this strongly indicates that the star was formed one generation after the first batch of the stars in the universe was born.

“This incredibly anemic star, which likely formed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, has iron levels 1.5 million times lower than that of the Sun,” Nordlander explained.

“In this star, just one atom in every 50 billion is iron – that’s like one drop of water in an Olympic swimming pool,” he added.

For the researchers, the findings of their study strongly suggest the possibility of studying ancient or dead stars through their children. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find more “time machine” stars in order to gain a deeper understanding of the various stellar objects in the universe.

The findings of Nordlander and his team of astronomers were presented in a new study published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.