A group of international scientists has used the Hubble Space Telescope to track down what they claim is the most distant star in the universe.
Astronomers Patrick Kelly from the University of Minnesota, Steven Rodney (University of South Carolina) and Jose Diego (Instituto de Física de Cantabria in Spain) made the discovery in April 2016.
The star is located in the MACS J1149-2223 galaxy cluster and emerged about 4.4 billion years after the Big Bang, which is when the universe formed and started expanding.
Kelly and his team believe that the discovery of the star can help scientists learn more about the early universe, particularly around the evolution of stars, galaxy clusters and dark matter.
They used the Hubble Space Telescope, which is operated by NASA and the European Space Agency, to explore a type of so-called gravitationally lensed supernova explosion called "Refsdal".
However, the scientists were then able to come across the most distant type of hot blue star.
Kelly explained that despite the fact that it is so far away from Earth, the researchers will still able to view it through the Hubble telescope.
"Like the Refsdal supernova explosion the light of this distant star got magnified, making it visible for Hubble," he said.
"This star is at least 100 times farther away than the next individual star we can study, except for supernova explosions."
The researchers explained that they spotted the Lensed Star 1 after its light was magnified by 2000 times. This happens because the galaxy cluster bends and alters the light of distant objects.
Jose Diego said it "became bright enough to be visible for Hubble thanks to a process called gravitational lensing" due to a process called gravitational microlensing.
Steven Rodney believes that the discovery of the star will allow his colleagues to make more unique discoveries in faraway galaxy clusters.
"The discovery of LS1 allows us to gather new insights into the constituents of the galaxy cluster. "We know that the microlensing was caused by either a star, a neutron star, or a stellar-mass black hole," he said.
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