Hubble uncovers the Farthest Star ever seen

Hubble uncovers the Farthest Star ever seen

Scientists have seen Icarus, the farthest star ever seen, through Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It is the most versatile telescope that has ever been sent to space and that’s the reason why it has solved so many mysteries. One of the most amazing features is that it can be serviced in space. Astronauts have repaired it 5 times since its launch and it is doing great. The proof of this is its latest achievement. Officials at NASA claim to have seen the farthest star, ever seen, with the help of this extraordinary telescope.

The official name given to that star is MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1 while it is commonly known as the Icarus. It is located over halfway across the universe and according to an estimate of the scientists, the light of this star took 9 billion years to reach the Earth. It happened at the time when our universe was 30% of its current age. Traditionally, viewing a star at such incredible distance is not possible but thanks to the ‘Gravitational Lensing’, Hubble helped the astronomers of our age to create an out-of-this-world record.

This technology is used to enhance the glow of the feeble stars so that they could be viewed through a telescope. The working mechanism of this exceptional phenomenon involves forces of gravity from a massive cluster of galaxies. These forces act as a lens and are used for amplifying light.

Patrick Kelly, who led this study and is a part of the University of Minnesota, seemed delighted as he expressed his views and said.

This is the first time we’re seeing a magnified, individual star. You can see individual galaxies out there, but this star is at least 100 times farther away than the next individual star we can study, except for supernova explosions.

Scientists have made full use of this discovery as efforts were made to test a hypothesis of dark matter. It is one of the most mysterious concepts linked with space and researchers are still looking for a reasonable explanation of them. This finding has received great feedback from the scientific world as it will give a totally new dimension to the study of stars. Initially, whole galaxies were examined and general perceptions were developed. Now, humans will be able to observe individual stars of distant galaxies.

The name, Icarus, came from the Greek mythology. A character in this myth was called Icarus and he had wings and feathers made up of wax. One day, he flew too close to the Sun which melted the wax. An international team, comprising of Steven Rodney of the University of South Carolina and Jose Diego of the Instituto de Fiscia de Cantabria in Spain, gave this star the name of Icarus following its position and the behavior as it appears to be extremely bright before disappearing completely. According to an estimate, the light of this star increases to about 600 times due to the mass of the foreground cluster.

The first attempts to study this star were made in 2014. Two years later, they spotted a new point of light near magnified supernova. A detailed analysis of the light was done and it was concluded that the source of that beam is a supergiant blue star. Generally, it has been observed that such stars are larger, hotter, and much brighter than our Sun. A critical question that arises here is, how did Kelly and his team know Icarus was not another supernova? The lead of the study himself explained the reason for that in the following words.

The source isn’t getting hotter; it’s not exploding. The light is just being magnified. And that’s what you expect from gravitational lensing.

Kelly is hopeful that this discovery will help to solve a lot of popular mysteries of the world like Evolution and the Dark Matter. The launch of Hubble’s successor, James Webb Space Telescope, is expected to take place in 2020. It is being developed by making use of the advanced technology and it is believed that it will find many other distant stars of our universe. We might manage to look into the past through these discoveries as Kelly said.

We are looking back in time. As more objects move in front of (Icarus), we will be able to take a census of everything in the cluster.

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