The James Webb Space Telescope revealed the mysteries of the most distant star in the Universe

The James Webb Space Telescope revealed the mysteries of the most distant star in the Universe

There is a very distant star in the Universe observable that the Hubble Space Telescope It has been reviewing since last year. It is so particular that experts claim that it is the most distant sun ever observed.

Now, Hubble’s successor, the powerful James Webb Space Telescope, has continued those observations to focus on the star that is located in the first one billion years after the Big Bang. And its powerful instrument NIRCam Webb’s (Near Infrared Camera) reveals that the star Eärendel — discovered by Hubble in 2022 — is a massive B-type star, more than twice as hot as our Sun, and about a million times more luminous.

Eärendel is located in the Arc of Dawn galaxy And it’s only detectable because of the combined power of human technology and nature through an effect called gravitational lensing. Both Hubble and Webb were able to detect Eärendel because of his Lucky alignment behind a wrinkle in space-time created by the huge galaxy cluster WHL0137-08.

The galaxy cluster, located between us and Eärendel, is so massive that it warps the fabric of space itself. which produces a magnifying effect, allowing astronomers to look through the cluster like a magnifying glass, NASA reports. While other features in the galaxy appear several times due to gravitational lensing, Eärendel only appears as a single point of light, even in Webb’s high-resolution infrared images.

Based on this, astronomers determine that the object is magnified by a factor of at least 4,000 and is therefore extremely small: the most distant star ever detected, observed 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

The previous record holder for the most distant star was detected by Hubble and observed around 4 billion years after the Big Bang. Another research team using Webb recently identified a gravitationally lensed star they nicknamed Quyllur, an observed red giant. 3 billion years after the Big Bang.

Stars as massive as Eärendel usually have companions. Eärendel, named after a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion,” a prequel to “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, may not be alone in deep space. Based on the star’s colors, “astronomers believe they see hints of a cooler, redder companion,” NASA officials wrote.

The existence of a companion would not be a surprise; most big stars like Eärendel are part of binary systems, Experts noted that at first they did not expect Webb to reveal any companions of Eärendel, as they would be very close together and indistinguishable in heaven.

This detected Eärendel light has been stretched by the expansion of the universe to wavelengths longer than what Hubble’s instruments can detect, so it was only detectable with Webb. Webb’s NIRCam also shows other notable details in the Arch of Dawn, which It is the largest galaxy detected so far in the first billion years of the universe.

Features include young star-forming regions and older established star clusters, as small as 10 light years in diameter. On either side of the maximum-magnification wrinkle, which runs through Eärendel, these features are reflected in the distortion of the gravitational lens. The star-forming region appears elongated and is estimated to be less than 5 million years old. The smaller dots on either side of Eärendel are two images of an older, more established star cluster, estimated to be at least 10 million years old.

Astronomers determined that This star cluster is gravitationally bound And it is likely to persist to this day. This shows us what globular clusters in our own Milky Way might have looked like when they formed 13 billion years ago.

Currently, astronomers are analyzing data from Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) instrument observations of the Arc galaxy. of Dawn and Eärendel, which will provide precise compositional and distance measurements for the galaxy. Since Hubble’s discovery of Eärendel, Webb has detected other very distant stars using this technique. none as far away as Eärendel.

Discoveries have opened A new realm from the universe to stellar physics and a new topic for scientists studying the early universe, where galaxies were once the smallest detectable cosmic objects. The research team is hopeful that this could be a step towards the eventual detection of one of the first generations of stars, Composed solely of the raw ingredients of the universe created in the Big Bang: hydrogen and helium.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond distant worlds around other stars, and investigating the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.


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