Although our planet seems big, with lots to explore and see, we don’t think enough about how large the universe is.
Scientists are frequently researching the formations of stars within viewing distance from our world, and their location within this massive universe that we live in. More and more stars and planets are being discovered every day, some even farther than our minds could even imagine.
The majority of them won’t have humans set foot on them any time soon, but it’s cool to wonder about what may happen in the future. We’ve researched what stars are and the farthest ones from Earth that have been discovered.
How Many Stars Are There?
It’s important to start by saying that there are simply too many stars in the visible sky for us to count. Scientists and astronomers believe that there are approximately 200 billion stars in our universe.
Each of these stars can then have a variety of planets around them that could be teeming with life. The fact of the matter is, that at the moment we’re only able to view them from afar, due to the sheer distance at which they sit away from us.
If we’re looking on a slightly smaller scale, the amount of stars within our galaxy is a figure from 100 billion stars and 400 billion stars, with at least as many planets dotted around.
There are lots of low-mass stars within this figure, which are a lot harder to detect than the standard stars we can see up in the night sky. These low-mass stars are particularly hard to detect at distances of more than 300 lightyears from our sun.
However, it’s common knowledge that there are simply too many stars to physically count because of the high amount of them and the large distance between them and us.
It’s believed that a lot of the stars that are on the further reaches that we can see are more-or-less echoes of the stars themselves.
There’s scientific evidence that proves some stars that are far enough away are already dead, but because of how long it takes for light to travel, we can still see what they looked like before they died.
What Is A Star?
A star is a celestial body, consisting of gas that is self-luminous, meaning it gives off light.
Stars shine by the radiation that they emit from their internal energy sources. Because of their gaseous state, they also give off huge levels of heat, which makes them incredibly dangerous to get close to.
Out of all of the billions of stars within the observable, immediate universe, only a tiny percentage are actually visible to the naked eye. Without technology, we wouldn’t be able to see a lot of them.
There are different types of stars. For example, our sun is known as a yellow dwarf star and is over 4.5 billion years old.
Consisting of a large quantity of helium and hydrogen, it sits in the center of our solar system and provides heat and light to the surrounding planets. Scientists believe that in around 6 billion years our sun will end up as a white dwarf star.
This is a small, dense leftover of a star that keeps on growing because of leftover heat and light.
Most black holes are formed as the remnants of a huge star that has died within a supernova explosion.
Although smaller stars can also die out, there are not big enough to trap light, and so become dense neutron stars instead. Black holes have such strong gravitational pull that not even light can escape their grasp.
Some people believe that black holes can be a gateway to another part of the universe, but scientists believe that they crush that whatever enters the center of a black hole gets crushed to an infinitely tiny point, in which all factors of space and time fall apart completely.
How Large Is The Universe?
The observable universe is absolutely massive, however, it’s not infinite. It’s believed to extend over 46 billion light-years in every direction, with the Earth at the center. The universe is forever-extending, however.
The universe is estimated to be over 13.8 billion years old and is constantly growing, meaning that there are always going to be more and more areas to discover. Although the universe is finite, there’s enough of it that we will never run out of places to discover and study.
To put it into context, there are 8 planets in our solar system, revolving around the Sun. the universe itself is believed to be home to over 700 quintillion planets, almost 100 quintillion times the amount of immediate planets around the Earth.
The nearest galaxy to us is believed to be around 749 million light-years away. The end of the known universe is thought to be 225 trillion years away from us.
What Is The Farthest Star From Earth?
It’s believed that the farthest star from Earth is a gigantic blue stellar body, which has been given the nickname Icarus.
The name comes from the story from Greek mythology of Icarus, who was warned not to fly too close to the sun. he didn’t listen and his wax wings melted, causing him to fall.
Icarus, the star, resides in a far away, distant spiral galaxy over halfway across our universe.
The star is so far away that its light has taken over 9 billion years to reach the Earth. This particular celestial body was captured by NASA’s Hubble Telescope in 2019 and remains the farthest known celestial body from our planet.
Going back to what was previously mentioned about lightyears and the speed of light, it’s believed that Icarus is seen today, how it looked when the universe was only 30% of its current age.
Sometimes, light from a single object can appear as several images.
This light can be magnified highly, making these extremely faint objects bright enough to observe from Earth. Icarus is made brighter by a natural magnifier, which is created by a galaxy cluster known as MACS J1149+2223.
This cluster is located between Earth and Icarus, around 5 billion light-years away from our planet. By combining this magnifying cluster and the strength of the Hubble Telescope, NASA’s astronomers can see Icarus clearly, making it available to study.
The star had temporary glory, as seen from Earth. In a moment, its brightness increased to over 2000 times its initial glow when temporarily magnified.
Models suggest that this was probably down to gravitational amplification from the celestial body, similar in mass to the Sun. This happened when the galaxy cluster moved in front of Icarus. Usually, the star’s light is magnified to over 600 times its typical glow.
When it comes to being the farthest star from Earth, Icarus is currently the largest distance away.
However, it’s important to note that Icarus is only the farthest known star, there are uncountable amounts of stars that lie further away from our planet.
It’s believed that the distance between Earth and the edge of the observable universe is about 93 billion light-years or 28 billion parsecs.
There’s no doubt that more stars will be found at further distances within the next few years, so it’s always worth keeping a track of new findings whenever you can! There’s no limit to how large our universe is, with so much left to discover.
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