UC Davis Astronomers Help Uncover the Farthest Star Ever Seen

Icarus, most distant star, image
Icarus, whose official name is MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1, is the farthest individual star ever seen. It is only visible because it is being magnified by the gravity of a massive galaxy cluster, located about 5 billion light-years from Earth. Called MACS J1149+2223, this cluster, shown at left, sits between Earth and the galaxy that contains the distant star. Credits: NASA, ESA, and P. Kelly (University of Minnesota)

Through a lucky quirk of nature, astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope to view a single star halfway across the universe. Nine billion light years from Earth, the giant blue-white star, nicknamed “Icarus” by the team, is by far the most distant individual star ever seen. Marusa Bradac, a physics professor and astronomer at UC Davis and graduate student Austin Hoag are part of the team describing Icarus and another distant, magnified star in two papers published April 2 in the journal Nature Astronomy. Read more at UC Davis News.