Hubble discovers oldest known star

The space telescope observed a star whose light was emitted 12.9 billion years ago, shortly after the big bang.

It is a small, unspectacular reddish dot, lost in the middle of a large image of the sky background containing thousands of galaxies. And yet, it fascinates astronomers. According to an international team, this point seen by the Hubble Space Telescope would in fact be the most distant isolated star ever observed. A star whose light took 12.9 billion years to reach us. Now dead for a very long time, she was born less than 1 billion years after the big bang that occurred 13.6 billion years ago.

To have seen it is a considerable feat, because “Until then, at this kind of distance, large telescopes could only distinguish whole galaxies each containing millions of stars, but not a single star”, explains Jose Maria Diego, an astronomer at the Cantabrian Institute of Physics in Santander and one of the authors of the discovery published this week in the journal Nature . The discoverers named the star Earendel…

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