It seems that the Hubble Space Telescope simply cannot cease to amaze an entire world. Recently, it has broken yet anther record and has observed the most distant ordinary star ever. This star is reportedly at about 9-billion years away from Earth. This means hat the light scientists saw started travelling about 9-billion years ago. For comparison reasons, everyone should know that the age of the Universe is 13.8 billion years. This is an amazing breakthrough because usually, stars that are that far cannot be observed on their own. For example, a supernova or an entire galaxy are a lot easier to see.
However, this distant star was observed by Hubble thanks to a very rare alignment. The researchers nicknamed the star Icarus and managed to find it through gravitational lensing. This is a phenomenon that happens when a massive galaxy or another big object is able to bend the light from the objects behind it. This means that normally dim objects appear a lot brighter from Earth, making them more noticeable. Normally, this phenomenon magnifies objects 50 times. However, this was a very special case, as the astronomers managed to magnify the star 2,000 times.
The most distant star ever observed
They managed to do this because another star was passing between Hubble and Icarus’s line of sight right at that moment. It’s interesting because this very rare glimpse of such a distant star could shed some light on the evolution of stars. According to research leader Patrick Kelly, individual galaxies exist out there. However, this particular star is about 100 times farther away then the next single star that the team can study.
Icarus’ official name is actually MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1, and it showed up as Kelly was searching for a supernova. He discovered SN Refsdal back in 2014 and was planning to follow it a bit more. Fortunately, he found something a lot more interesting.
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