Our universe is so vast and boundless. It’s not every day that astronomers discover new stars. ! The infinite nature of the universe, gives room for new discoveries all the time! Some astronomers dedicate their entire lives to make even a small if not significant discovery. So, here we have the recent discovery of two very important stars, one being the smallest to be ever observed and the other being the most distant star that man has ever been able to detect! The farthest and the tiniest stars ever discovered have made a mark in the history of astronomy.
The farthest star to come under our radar
Previously, the farthest star to be identified was the MAC0647, which was spotted using the gravitational lensing by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a space telescope that has been the key tool for some of the greatest discoveries ever made by man!
Gravitational lensing, a boon to astronomers
So, what is gravitational lensing?
Gravitational lensing is simply the phenomenon by which matter (a galaxy cluster in space for e.g.) can take a curved trajectory around space time. In such a case, the resulting light ray is said to be deflected and it may act as a magnifying glass in space allowing astronomers and scientists to look beyond and make startling discoveries!
The discovery of the latest farthest star was made by Patrick Kelly and his team of astronomers from the University of Berkeley, California. Kelly, an astronomer himself researched extensively and finally concluded that the team had discovered the farthest star to have ever been recorded. The star has been named as MACSJ4119. The observation was made in the months of April and May, 2016. Their research results and analysis were published later in the month of June, of the same year.
Their concluding remarks state that “the light they observed could be from a single blue star oriented along the line of sight of the Hubble Space Telescope.
It was noted that the discovered star’s light crossed nearly three quarters of the universe to come within our vicinity.
Smallest star ever discovered!
The second significant discovery – of the tiniest star ever observed – was made a team of astronomers working on a project called, the Wide Angle Search for Planets or WASP.
This tiny star has been given a pretty long name – EBLM J0555-57Ab.
Tiny as it may be, this star contains seven Earth-sized planets within it! It has a mass that is roughly equivalent to 300 times that of Saturn. However, when compared to the mass of the Sun, it is just amounts up to a mere 8% and meets the minimum required mass statistics narrowly.
The astronomers have clearly stated that the discovered star is not a dwarf planet and is very much capable of nuclear fusion at its core for its fueling.
The universe is so limitless that we can only conclude on discoveries until newer discoveries are made. We can only be patient students in our quest for knowledge and the learning process will never end.
That was about the farthest and the tiniest stars that humans have ever discovered.