It’s been an impressive year for astronomy, insofar as scientists have broken records for the farthest star and galaxy ever discovered.
The distant objects were even observed without the aid of the groundbreaking new James Webb Space Telescope, which is gearing up for its first scientific observations later this year, potentially allowing us to scour parts of the universe further away than ever before.
Until then, news week has compiled a list of some of the most distant objects ever found.
This year, an international team of researchers announced that they had discovered what they believe is the most distant galaxy ever found.
Located 13.5 billion light-years away, HD1 is a galaxy candidate that was spotted after researchers spent more than 1,200 hours looking through several telescopes.
Little is known about this so far. The team that discovered HD1 propose that it may have quickly formed some of the universe’s very first stars — bearing in mind that when we look at distant objects, we see them as they were in the past rather than as they are. now are. Another theory is that it contains a supermassive black hole.
According to Fabio Pacucci, co-author of two papers describing HD1, it will be difficult to learn more about it. “It’s like guessing a ship’s nationality by the flag it flies, while it’s far ashore, with the ship in the middle of a storm and thick fog,” he said in a press release. the Harvard University.
It is hoped that future telescopes such as Webb will help to further investigate galaxies such as HD1.
On March 30, NASA announced that the Hubble Space Telescope had been used to detect the most distant individual star ever.
The star is called Earendel, which means “morning star” in Old English. It is located about 12.9 billion light-years away and is estimated to be at least 50 times the mass of the sun.
Scientists believe the star existed in the first billion years of the universe, giving us valuable insight into very early star formation.
Astronomer Brian Welch of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and lead author of the paper describing the discovery told NASA, “Studying Earendel will be a window into an era of the universe we are unfamiliar with, but that has led to all we do know.”
The article was published in the magazine Nature†
In January 2021, astronomers described the discovery of J0313-1806, a quasar located 13.03 billion light-years from Earth.
The most distant quasar discovered dates only about 670 million years after the Big Bang and contains a supermassive black hole with a mass of 1.6 billion suns, according to a press release from the University of Arizona.
Quasars are extremely bright astronomical objects believed to be the centers of young galaxies, with their light propelled by gas spiraling rapidly into an extremely large black hole.
Farthest object explored
Finally, the farthest object ever explored up close by scientists is Arrokoth (2014 MU69), a small, icy object orbiting the sun 4.1 billion miles from Earth in an area of the solar system known as the Kuiper Belt, which lies beyond the orbit of Neptune.
Arrokoth was visited in 2019 by the New Horizons probe – a flyby that revealed its strange shape referred to as snowman-like by NASA. It also has a red color.
Arrokoth is thought to be two objects merged into one. It measures about 22 miles from end to end and its name means “heaven” in the Powhatan/Algonquian language, according to NASA.