Earendel: The Most Distant Star Ever Found.

Earendel (WHL0137-LS) is a record-breaking star, holding the title of the farthest ever discovered. Detected in 2022 by the Hubble Space Telescope, it resides in the constellation Cetus at a staggering distance of 28 billion light-years. This immense distance means we are seeing Earendel as it was just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang!

Seeing Through a Cosmic Magnifying Glass

Observing a star so far away wouldn't be possible without a little help from cosmic phenomena. Earendel benefits from a natural magnifying glass effect caused by a galaxy cluster lying between us and the star. This cluster, WHL0137-08, bends light due to its gravity, focusing it and making Earendel appear much brighter than it actually is. Calculations suggest this magnification is somewhere between 1,000 and 40,000 times!

A Star From the Early Universe

Earendel's immense distance tells us it existed very early in the universe's history. By studying this star, astronomers hope to gain insights into the composition and properties of stars that formed shortly after the Big Bang. Earendel is a massive star, likely tens of times the mass of our Sun. Understanding its existence can help us piece together how the first stars evolved and enriched the universe with the heavier elements necessary for future generations of stars and planets.

The Future of Earendel

Earendel's discovery has only scratched the surface. The James Webb Space Telescope, with its superior resolution and sensitivity, is expected to provide more detailed observations of this ancient star. This will allow scientists to analyze its light spectrum, revealing its composition and providing a clearer picture of what these early stars were like. Earendel is a beacon from our universe's infancy, and further study promises to unlock secrets about the cosmos's origins and evolution.

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