The Hubble Space Telescope “saw” the light of the most distant single star ever observed.
The star, named Earendel (meaning “star of the dawn” in Old English), is about 12.9 billion light-years from Earth.
The previous distance record holder was a star 4 billion light-years away, found again by Hubble in 2018. The new record holder is at a much greater distance in space and time.
“We hardly believed it at first, this star was so far away from the previous farthest star,” said Brian Welts, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who led the team, which was published in the journal Nature.
Scientists estimate that Earendel has at least 50 times the mass of our Sun and is millions of times brighter. The star will be further studied by NASA’s new, more powerful James Webb Space Telescope, which has already been put into orbit and will begin observations this year.
As Welts put it, “with Webb we can see even more distant stars than Earendel, breaking its distance record, which is incredibly exciting.”
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