The Hubble telescope, which has been in orbit for more than 30 years, continues to surprise us and to make discoveries. NASA has just announced that it has been able to observe the most distant star ever discovered.
In order to make this discovery, Hubble used the gravitational lens phenomenon, and as a lens, he used the distortion of the tissue of the space-time galactic cluster WHL0137-08.
Research estimates that the mass of this star is about 50 times the mass of the sun, and it is millions of times brighter, but even with such characteristics, it cannot be seen without the use of a gravitational lens, which increases its brightness more than a thousand times.
After observing this star, Hubble broke its own previous record, set in 2018, at which time it was able to observe a star that appeared about four billion years after the Big Bang. On the other hand, it is so far away that its light took 12.9 billion years to reach us. It is located in a part of the universe called the red shift 6.2.
"," said astronomer Brian Welch of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, lead author of a study published on March 30 in the magazine . The discovery was based on data collected during the Hubble RELICS programme, also in Baltimore.
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Thanks to the alignment between WHL0137-08 and Erentil, the star will be more bright for several years. This time will allow further research to be carried out with the James Webb Space Telescope. The wave length range in which JWST operates is the most suitable for observing celestial bodies formed in the distant past. This is because the gravitational red displacement of the photon released by these objects changes the wave length and seems to us to be more red.
What makes it so important to discover the most distant star ever seen? To be able to tell the history of the creation of the universe, a story that is still mysterious, because the first stars that were formed at the very beginning of its existence have not yet been seen. These ancient, poor metals are called population III stars. They formed before the universe was enriched by heavy elements.
It is therefore assumed that they consist of primary hydrogen and helium and do not contain metals. Instead, they were produced by successive generations of massive stars as a result of nuclear synthesis reactions and supernova explosions. If studies conducted after this discovery show that Erentil only consists of hydrogen and helium, she could become the prime candidate for the legendary populative III stars. The first stars born after the Big Bang.