Thanks to a gravitational lens created by a massive cluster of galaxies astronomers were able to identify the most distant single star ever seen. The star nicknamed Earendel has between 50 and 500 solar masses and lies 28 billion light years away. According to a new study published in Nature magazine, the light detected by Hubble left the star when the universe was less than a billion years old (out of today's 13,8 billion years).
Gravitational lens was in this case created by galaxies from cluster WHL0137–08. Their combined gravity magnified the light coming from behind them and allowed Hubble to capture it. Astronomers let the telescope collect light for 9 hours. The captured light was emitted when the universe was less than a billion years old, and travelled for more than 12 billion years. Since then the universe expanded and the distance is now estimated to be around 28 billion light years. However Earendel is not the most distant object observed - that trophy belongs to a galaxy known as GN-z11, which is a whopping 32 billion light years away.
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