Hubble space telescope discovers Icarus, a blue supergiant star , 9 Bn years away from earth

03 April 2018, 08:27 PM
Hubble space telescope discovers Icarus, a blue supergiant star , 9 Bn years away from earth (Source: NASA, ESA, P KELLY/University of Minnesota)
Hubble space telescope discovers Icarus, a blue supergiant star , 9 Bn years away from earth (Source: NASA, ESA, P KELLY/University of Minnesota)

The star looks like a pinprick in the far of galaxy, but the scientists say that tiny dot of light captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is the most distant and farthest individual star ever located halfway across the universe.

The scientists have christened the newly found distinct star as Icarus but officially it has been named MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1.

According to the team which detected the Icarus, the light emitted by the star took almost nine billion years to reach earth and they believe that till now it might have died, forming a neutron star or a black hole.  

“Stars at such a distance are normally too faint to be identified individually until they explode in a supernova. Icarus was visible because of the alignment of the heavens,” said Dr Patrick Kelly, first author of research from the University of Minnesota.

“Icarus is more than 100 times farther away than the next most distant individual star we observed,” Kelly added.

A international team of researchers writing in their journal Nature Astronomy revealed how their curiosity was aroused in 2016.

The team in the journal wrote that they were studying a supernova known as SN Refsdal in a galaxy more than 9 billion years away. While studying the supernova they notices a speck of light that appeared four times brighter than in the previous images.

The researchers further state that the light came from an object in the same galaxy as the supernova and appeared from a well-known galaxy cluster that lay just over 5 billion light years from the earth.

“As we monitored the cluster closely due to SN Refsdal, we obtained imaging of the cluster regularly. In every new image we saw the Icarus region brightening up,” said Dr Mathilide Jauzac, another author of the study from Durham Univeristy.

The team determined that the pinprick to be a star whose brightness had been magnified by a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

According to the researchers, the increase in brightness of Icarus is due to an additional magnification boost from a star within the galaxy.

“Usually a star is magnified by about 600 times and this is due to the galaxy cluster. Many a times a star floating in the center of a cluster gets in the right place and will contribute in additional magnification,” Kelly added.

She further added that in the case of Icarus it was magnified by more than 2,000 times.

The researchers found that Icarus to be a blue supergiant, a rare type of star that is larger than the sun.

First Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2018 08:17 PM
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