Incredible luck allowed us to get a photo while the most distant...

Incredible luck allowed us to get a photo while the most distant stars


Due to the effect of gravitational lensing space telescope “Hubble” was able to get pictures of the stars, distant from us 9 billion light years, which at the moment is a record of observations of a single object located far from our Solar system.

Previously space Observatory “Hubble” has received images of very distant galaxies from us. For example, in April 2016, the telescope image of galaxy Gn-Z11, located at 13.4 billion light-years from us, there is only 400 million light-years from the alleged site of the Big Bang. However, the galaxy is much larger and brighter than single objects, for example, the same stars. And usually at a distance of more than 100 million light-years single star it is impossible to distinguish. However, scientists were very lucky with the star called “Ikar” (officially called MACS J1149 LS1). Their discovery, they shared in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“We were the first to see an ordinary star is not a supernova, not gamma-flash, and most ordinary light, remote from us at nine billion light-years. It seems to us, other similar blending of “cosmic lenses” will help us to see the earliest stars of the Universe. The universe itself gave us the great telescope which only can exist,” said Alex Filippenko of the University of California at Berkeley.

Filippenko and his colleagues, including Nobel laureate Adam Riess, for the first time were able to obtain detailed images of stars that existed in one of the first galaxies of the Universe, observing the galaxy cluster MACS J1149, located in the constellation Leo at a distance of five billion light-years from Earth.

This cluster, as found by scientists in 2014, closes another major cluster of galaxies, traces of which can be seen as a bright ring of light that surrounds MACS J1149. Analyzing the structure of images obtained by Hubble in 2016 and 2017, Filippenko and his colleagues noticed an unusual object that was distracting from the overall number of galaxies.

After analyzing its spectrum and measuring the dimensions, scientists have realized that we are not dealing with a supernova or gamma-ray burst, and with the usual star, which refers to the number of blue supergiants. It is located on the outskirts of the galaxy, remote from Earth is about 9 billion light-years away, on the opposite edge of which recently exploded supernova, SN Refsdal, whose light has also been repeatedly reinforced the “lens” MACS J1149. Scientists suggest that the open star can refer to B-class stars. She is very bright and can have temperatures between 11 000 and 14 000 degrees Celsius, making it more than 2 times hotter than our Sun.

The star was visible only after its position in the galaxy has shifted, and its light began to pass through a neighborhood of another star, a small dwarf-sized Sun, on the way to cluster MACS J1149. This has increased its illumination to 600 times and have allowed astronomers to open it.

In the near future is expected Filippenko and his colleagues, “Icarus” will be even brighter due to further shifts in the position of the stars in its home galaxy. The observation of the object, as scientists hope will help them understand the role of dark matter in the formation of such gravitational lenses, and closer to the opening of the so-called primordial black holes.