By Alex Bellury, Senior Writer
Wednesday, April 4th, 2018
(NEW FRONTIER NEWS) – Astronomers have discovered the most distant star from Earth, around 9-billion light-years away. The star’s name is MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1, also nicknamed Icarus. It was discovered to be blue, luminous, and a supergiant.
The star died out long ago, collapsing into a black hole or became a neutron star, as blue supergiants don’t last 9 billion years.
The star was found with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope using a method called gravitational lensing, which finds objects 100 times farther away than with normal telescope images. It uses the light from distant galaxies and bends it to view objects usually too dark to see.
“For the first time ever we’re seeing an individual normal star — not a supernova, not a gamma-ray burst, but a single, stable star — at a distance of 9 billion light-years,” said Alex Filippenko, an astronomer at the University of California-Berkeley and co-author of the study.
The detection of the star was made possible because the light emitted from it was magnified 2,000 times. The star was formed when the universe was 30% of its age now, around 4.4 billion years after the big bang.
Newer telescopes like the James Webb telescope will be able to detect stars even farther away, discovering more about the evolution of the universe and what dark matter is.
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