Hubble Space Telescope recording of Impressive celestial discoveries continue. On March 30, 2022, scientists announced that the mighty astronomer observatory had detected light from a star about 28 billion light-years away – making it the farthest individual star seen to date.
The ancient star is thought to have formed less than a billion years after the birth of the universe during the big Bang. However, it is not the oldest star ever discovered. This honor belongs to a star double Methuselah, which is thought to date back to amazing 14.5 billion years old, roughly the same age as our universe.
The team, led by Brian Welch, a doctorate student at Johns Hopkins University, nicknamed the distant star Earendel, a old English word meaning “morning star” or “rising light”. They estimate it was between 50 and 500 times more massive like our Sun and millions of times like bright. The researchers’ calculations indicate that the light from Earendel took 12.9 billion years to reach Earth.
“When the light we see from Earendel was issued, the universe was less than a billion years old; only 6% of his current age,” says study co-author Victoria Strait, a postdoctoral researcher at the Cosmic Dawn Center in Copenhagen. “At that time it was 4 billion light-years from the proto-Milky Way, but during the almost 13 billion years it took for the light to reach us, the universe has extended so that it is now a staggering 28 billion light-years away.”
The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature March 30, 2022 Think Earendel is just one star. But it could potentially also be a star cluster. They plan to observe the ancient star using the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope to see if this is the case.
They also hope to get more knowledge at Earendel compositionnm If scientists can confirm this Earendel understand only paramount hydrogen and heliumhe would provide the first concrete evidence of stars formed shortly after the Big Bang.
“Earendel was around so long ago that maybe it didn’t all have the same raw materials materials like the stars around us today,” Welch explained. “Studying Earendel will be a window into a time of the universe which we do not know, but which led to all that we know. It’s like we really read interesting book, but we started with the second chapter, and now we’ll have a chance to see how it all started.”
Although Welch is delighted with Eearendel’s record-breaking status, he suspects it might be short-lived. The researcher says: “With Webb, we can see stars even farther than Earendel, which would be incredibly exciting. We will go back as far as possible. I would love to see Webb break Earendel’s distance record.”
Resources: hubblesite.org, Niels Bohr Institute (nbi.ku.dk)