A historic Hubble Space Telescope image has finally been made public by NASA after a week of waiting, and it is absolutely magnificent.
In conclusion, the image appears to represent the farthest distant star ever found by humanity. The researchers who made the discovery claim that it not only establishes a new record but also provides insightful data on the early universe and paves the way for a “significant confirmation” using the super-efficient James Webb Space Telescope.
In a press release regarding the discovery, astronomer Brian Welch of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who was the principal researcher behind the new image, remarked, “We almost didn’t believe it at first since it was so much further than the previous most-distant, highest redshift star.”
Because of a favorable alignment behind a galaxy cluster, the Hubble was able to study the star, dubbed Earendel — yup, that’s a “Lord of the Rings” phrase — which magnified the extremely distant celestial object. It took 12.9 billion years for the star’s light to reach Earth when it was released 900 million years after the Big Bang. As a result, the Big Bang hypothesis states that it is on the edge of the space-time continuum.
At this distances, whole galaxies typically resemble little smudges because the light from countless stars combines, according to Welch. “Gravitational lensing has amplified and deformed the galaxy harboring this star into a lengthy crescent that we termed the Sunrise Arc,” the authors write.
The discovery, made in recent study and reported in the journal Nature, provides a glimpse into the universe at a time when stars’ whole chemical composition may have been different. They want to scan it shortly with the James Webb telescope, which is far more powerful than the Hubble and is presently undergoing calibration.
According to Welch, “Earendel lived so long ago that it might not have had all the same basic ingredients as the stars surrounding us now.” Studying Earendel will provide a doorway into a time in the history of the cosmos that is unknown to us yet was the precursor to all we now know. It’s like if we’ve been reading a tremendously intriguing book, but we’ve only gotten to the second chapter; now we get to find out how it all began.