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Space Technology

Hubble Space Telescope Spots the Farthest Known Star ( 74

Researchers using Hubble space telescope data have spotted Icarus (aka MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1), a blue supergiant whose light was emitted when it was 9 billion light years away from Earth -- over 100 times farther than the previous record-setter. According to Engadget, "They captured the star thanks to a rare, ideal gravitational lensing effect where the star's light was magnified not only by the gravity of an in-between galaxy cluster 5 billion light years from Earth, but by a star inside that cluster." From the report: Observers had been keeping close watch on the cluster since 2014, when they'd detected a supernova that turned out to be present in a galaxy 9 billion light years away. They realized Icarus was present in April 2016, when a point of light near the supernova seemed to change brightness. Don't get too attached to this new discovery. With this kind of distance, Icarus has long-since turned into a neutron star or black hole. The findings are still advancing science in ways you might not expect, however. As the Guardian noted, the Icarus study ruled out a theory that dark matter consists of black holes. If that had been the case, they would have brightened Icarus even more. And if nothing else, this proves that humanity can detect more than just the largest and brightest celestial objects at these kinds of distances.
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Hubble Space Telescope Spots the Farthest Known Star

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  • by Pezbian ( 1641885 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2018 @03:08AM (#56371271)

    If that old thing can see something so unique and far away, I can only imagine what the James Webb Space Telescope is ultimately capable of.

    If it ever launches.

    • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2018 @04:03AM (#56371383) Homepage

      The Hubble isn't the telescope doing 99% of the magnification work here. The galaxy cluster and the star within are the two powerful telescopes being used.

      • Modding needs a confirmation box, selected redundant instead of insightful. Sorry man. Posting to undo..

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      If it ever launches.

      It's better to thoroughly test it while it's still on the ground . . . instead of having to send up a Geek Squad repair crew on the Space Shuttle, like we had to do with the Hubble.

      Oh, yeah . . . we don't have the Space Shuttle anymore.

      If there's trouble with the Webb, we'll have to politely ask our good friends the Russians for help.

      Or maybe the Chinese.

      Has India done any manned flight yet . . . ?

      • We have SpaceX. They are going to take us all to Mars soon.
      • If there's trouble with the Webb, we'll have to politely ask our good friends the Russians for help.

        Why? They can't get to the Earth/Sun L2 point with any manned vehicle they've ever built.

        Or maybe the Chinese.

        Neither have they.

        Has India done any manned flight yet . . . ?

        No. And if they had, they wouldn't be capable of going beyond LEO either.

        Note that since the retirement of Apollo, NOONE has had the ability to send people beyond LEO. And even Apollo wasn't capable of going to the Earth/Sun L2.


        • Note further that NOONE is even planning such capability anytime soon (by "soon" I mean before 2050 or so).

          That's not really true; I'm pretty sure that all three of NASA, SpaceX, and Blue Origin are planning such capability before 2050. Only the latter two plan it to have a reasonable price tag, though.

  • Hey, I just found an even farther star!

    *shows picture of a small dot*
  • Well, it's not like watching Game of thrones characters...

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!