Abstract. We review the expected properties of the first stellar generations in the Universe. In particular, we consider and discuss the diagnostics, based on the emission from associated HII regions, that permit one to discern bona fide primeval stellar generations from the ones formed after pollution by supernova explosions has occurred. We argue that a proper characterization of truly primeval stellar generations has to be based on spectra that show simultaneously (a) the presence of high intensities and equivalent widths of Hydrogen and Helium emission lines, such as Ly-α and HeII 1640˚A, and (b) the absence of collisionally excited metal lines, mostly from the first heavy elements to be synthetized in large quantities, i.e. C and O. These atomic species are expected to produce emission lines, such as CIII] 1909˚A, OIII] 1666˚A, [OIII] 5007˚A, etc., with intensities above 10 % the intensity of Hβ already for metallicities as low as 0.001Z⊙. The expected performance of the NASA/ESA/CSA NGST for the study and the characterization of primordial sources is also discussed. 1
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