The Furthest Star Ever Has Been Discovered Lurking At The Edge Of Time Itself
Space is incredibly large, and it takes things an extremely long time to travel across the vast empty voids of the universe. It takes the light from the sun eight minutes to leave the surface and hit your backyard. It takes the light of the Andromeda Galaxy over 2.5 million years to reach Earth. When you look up at the night sky each night, you get a patchwork of the past. As the photons hit your retinas, they are ending a journey that has taken them thousands, millions, or even billions of years to reach you.
Now, in a tag team effort led by the Hubble Space Telescope and followed up by its newer, more advanced cousin, the James Webb Telescope, scientists have successfully honed in on the most distant star ever recorded. The Hubble Space Telescope spotted the star earlier this year, and just recently, the James Webb Telescope was able to get a better lock and analysis of the extremely distant object. The star is called Earendel, and its light is some of the earliest ever to be seen by humans.
From The Dawn Of Time
The light from Earendel left the surface of the star 12.9 billion years ago. That is just 900 million years after the initial burst from the Big Bang. The light being collected by the orbiting space telescopes was formed long before the Earth, or the solar system, came into being. Our solar system is just 4.5 billion years old. That means the light from Earendel left on its journey 8.4 billion years before the solar system even coalesced into anything recognizable.
This is an incredible feat that furthers the goal of astronomers to try and peer into the very beginning of time. Theoretically, with the right equipment, the right angle, and some mind-bending physics, humans will one day be able to look far enough into the past to see the Big Bang, or at least its immediate aftermath.
The Universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old, meaning we just have to look 900 million lightyears further to potentially see the beginning of…