Hubble Space Telescope spots the farthest star ever seen thanks to quirk of nature

Hubble Space Telescope spots the farthest star ever seen thanks to quirk of natureScientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have spotted the most distant star ever studied thanks to some cosmic luck. The star, named Lensed Star 1 (LS1 for short), was born about 9 billion years ago and is thought to be a huge, blue star with a surface temperature ranging from 11,000 degrees Celsius to 14,000 degrees Celsius. This makes the star more than twice as hot as our sun, NASA said in a statement. Under normal circumstances we wouldn't be able to see LS1 using even the most advanced tools, but thanks to a coincidence and some convenient physics, the Hubble was able to observe the distant object. SEE ALSO: Why NASA is struggling to launch its most ambitious space science project yet The light emitted from the star billions of light-years away was magnified because of a galaxy cluster about 5 billion light-years from Earth, between LS1 and our planet.  The mass of the galaxy cluster caused distant light from LS1 to bend around it, magnifying the light of the background star by 2,000 times, thereby allowing the Hubble to see it, according to the new study detailing the LS1 findings in the journal Nature Astronomy this week. This effect is known as gravitational lensing, and it lets researchers see objects not observable otherwise. “This is the first time we’re seeing a magnified, individual star,” study leader Patrick Kelly said in a NASA statement. “You can see individual galaxies out there, but this star is at least 100 times farther away than the next individual star we can study, except for supernova explosions.” Finding this star wasn't exactly planned.  The research team was actually looking at a distant supernova — a large, exploding star at the end of its life — when they spotted LS1 in the data.  Scientists knew that LS1 wasn't a supernova because of its appearance. Instead, they found another explanation.  “The source isn’t getting hotter; it’s not exploding. The light is just being magnified,” Kelly said. “And that’s what you expect from gravitational lensing.” Other research teams have used gravitational lensing for other discoveries as well.  These kinds of cosmic alignments can allow researchers to see deeper into the universe than ever before, revealing previously unseen objects in the distant reaches of the cosmos.  WATCH: The Earth is surrounded by human-made bubble




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