Our most distant star sits halfway across universe

By Divi S.

Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope image of a blue supergiant star the Icarus, the farthest individual star ever seen, is show in this image released April 2, 2018. Courtesy Nasa, ESA, and P.Kelly/University of Minnesota/Handout via Reuters]

WASHINGTON 4 April 2018: Scientists have detected the most distant star ever viewed – a blue behemoth located more than halfway across the universe and named after the ancient Greek mythological figure Icarus, Wam said quoting Reuters.

Researchers said on Monday they used Nasa’s Hubble Space Telescope to spot the star, which is up to a million times more luminous and about twice as hot as our sun, residing 9.3 billion lights years away from Earth. It is a type of star called a blue supergiant.

The star, located in a distant spiral galaxy, is at least 100 times further away than any other star previously observed, with the exception of things like the huge supernova explosions that mark the death of certain stars. Older galaxies have been spotted but their individual stars were indiscernible.

The scientists took advantage of a phenomenon called “gravitational lensing” to spot the star. It involves the bending of light by massive galaxy clusters in the line of sight, which magnifies more distant celestial objects. This makes dim, faraway objects that otherwise would be undetectable, like an individual star, visible.

“The fraction of the universe where we can see stars is very small. But this sort of quirk of nature allows us to see much bigger volumes,” said astronomer Patrick Kelly of the University of Minnesota, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature Astronomy, Reuters added.