NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a picture of the most distant known star in the universe.
Arendelle, named after a character in JRR Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel ‘The Silmarillion’, is about 28 billion light-years from Earth.
It is more than 10 billion light-years away from astronomers of the next most distant star.
At such great distances, experts can usually only detect entire galaxies, but a lucky coincidence allowed them to find Arendelle with the Hubble Space Telescope and then revisit it with Webb on July 30.
By comparing the Hubble image captured by NASA’s new $10 billion (£7.4 billion) Super Space Telescope, experts were able to find the elusive Arendelle as a faint red dot beneath a cluster of distant galaxies.
Far, far away: The farthest known star in the universe has been captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Arendelle is about 28 billion light years away from Earth and shown here in this image where the white arrow is
Rounded out: Experts were able to find Arendelle as a pale red dot beneath a cluster of distant galaxies
“We are excited to share the first JWST image of Arendelle,” a group of astronomers said using the Twitter account Cosmic Spring JWST.
What is Gravitational Lensing?
Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive galaxy or cluster of galaxies bends the light emanating from a more distant galaxy.
This produces a highly magnified, though very distorted image.
This is because massive objects twist the spacetime around them, causing light to travel in a different path.
This theory was first proposed by Einstein in his theory of general relativity.
The star, whose light took 12.9 billion light years to reach Earth, is so dim that it would be challenging to find it without the help of Hubble—which images in visible, ultraviolet light compared to Webb’s infrared.
This example of two telescopes working side-by-side is exactly what NASA envisioned, despite Webb eventually being touted as the successor to the famous Hubble.
A group of astronomers using the Twitter account Cosmic Spring JWST said, “We are excited to share the first JWST image of Arendelle, the most distant star known in our universe, lensed and magnified by a massive galaxy cluster. “
His tweet refers to gravitational lensing, where light has been scattered into a long curve by the gravity of a galaxy cluster close to Earth.
This process enlarges the Sunrise Arc galaxy where Arendelle resides by a factor of more than 1,000, allowing astronomers to confirm with Webb that it is an individual star and not a cluster of hundreds.
Experts said the star is visible because it is perfectly aligned with the galaxy cluster to provide the maximum possible magnification.
‘It’s a really lucky alignment,’ said Dan Coe of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland. new scientist,
‘No one has ever seen such a massive star, not to mention the Milky Way.’
Because light takes time to travel, this new Webb image shows Arendelle as it was about 900 million years after the Big Bang.
According to Brian Welch, a PhD candidate who led a team of astronomers at Johns Hopkins University in the search for a distant star, Tolkien’s character Arendille was the inspiration for Arendelle’s name.
‘Once we were sure that this object was a star, I started looking at possible names,’ he said.
‘Erendil was one of the first things to come to mind, as he saw his ship Wingillot sailing through the sky with the Silmaril on his forehead, becoming a star and a symbol of hope on Middle-earth.
‘As I looked further, I discovered that Tolkien’s original inspiration for the character was an Old English word arendelle, meaning morning star.’
Welch continued: The ‘Morning Star’ reference worked particularly well, as it is a time period often referred to as Cosmic Dawn, so that kind of sealed the deal for me.’
At such great distances, experts can usually only detect entire galaxies, but a lucky coincidence allowed them to see Arendelle with the Hubble Space Telescope (shown) and then again with James Webb on July 30 .
By comparing the Hubble image (pictured) captured by Webb, experts were able to spot the elusive Arendelle as a tiny reddish dot beneath a cluster of distant galaxies.
‘JWST was designed to study the first stars. Until recently, we assumed the mean population of stars within the first galaxies,’ astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland wrote in a recent paper discussing gravitational lensing.
‘But in the past three years, three different strongly lensed stars have been discovered.
‘This offers a new hope of directly observing individual stars at cosmological distances with JWST.’
Astronomers hope that the next round of Webb observations for the Space Telescope Science Institute team, planned for December, may reveal what Yearndale and Sunrise arcs are made of.
“We’re all made of starstuff, but that stuff wasn’t there in the early universe,” Coe said.
‘This is a rare opportunity to see if this star had heavy elements 13 billion years ago.’
Because light takes time to travel, this new image from Webb (pictured) shows Arendelle as it was about 900 million years after the Big Bang.
Last month, unprecedented images of Webb’s dazzling, a ‘stellar nursery’, a ‘cosmic dance’ between a dust-soaked dying star and a cluster of galaxies were revealed to the world for the first time.
This put an end to months of waiting and fiery anticipation as people around the world were treated to the first batch of a treasure trove of images that would culminate in the earliest sighting of the dawn of the universe.
Webb’s infrared capabilities mean it can ‘look back in time’ to within a mere 100-200 million years after the Big Bang, making it the first stars to shine in the universe 13.5 billion years ago.
Its first images of the nebula, an exoplanet, and galaxy clusters caused huge celebration in the scientific world, calling it a ‘great day for humanity’.
Researchers will soon begin learning more about the mass, age, history and compositions of galaxies, as Webb tries to locate the oldest galaxies in the universe.
James Webb Telescope: NASA’s $10 Billion Telescope Designed to Detect Light from Early Stars and Galaxies
The James Webb Telescope has been described as a ‘time machine’ that can help unravel the mysteries of our universe.
The telescope will be used to observe the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago, and to observe the sources of stars, exoplanets and even moons and planets in our solar system. Will go
The giant telescope, which has already cost over $7 billion (£5 billion), is considered the successor to the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.
The James Webb Telescope and most of its instruments have an operating temperature of about 40 Kelvin—about minus 387 Fahrenheit (minus 233 Celsius).
It is the world’s largest and most powerful orbital space telescope, capable of looking back 100-200 million years after the Big Bang.
The orbiting infrared observatory is designed to be about 100 times more powerful than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA prefers to think of James Webb as a successor to Hubble rather than a replacement, as the two will work together for some time.
The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida via spacecraft Discovery.
It orbits the Earth at a speed of about 17,000mph (27,300kph) at an altitude of about 340 miles in low Earth orbit.