DENVER (KDVR) — NASA’s Hubble Telescope discovered the farthest star ever recorded in our universe this year, picking up light from 12.9 billion years ago.
That light existed within the first billion years of the universe following the big bang, which happened 13.8 billion years ago.
“When you go outside and look up, the stars may be a couple hundred, thousand light-years away, which is a great distance, but to see one 13 billion light-years away, you know we never expected this,” said astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute Dr. Dan Coe. “It’s so far away, we’re looking back in time 13 billion years.”
The star has been named “Earendel,” which in Old English means “Morning Star.” The team that discovered it estimates the star is at least 50 times the mass of our sun and millions times as bright.
Coe said we normally see full galaxies that far away, so to pinpoint an individual star at that distance is remarkable.
“We used one of nature’s telescopes called a gravitational lens,” Coe said. “We looked at a massive cluster of galaxies, so millions and billions of stars, and it has so much mass it bends spacetime around it so the light is actually magnified from things that are more distant.”
Coe said there is a lot that astronomers and researchers can learn from just glancing at this star on the other side of the universe billions of light-years away.