Galactic lens reveals far stars
Researchers have spotted two ‘twinkling’ stars in galaxies billions of light years away - much further away than we can usually see.
The observation was made possible by entire galaxies between Earth and the distant stars acting as giant magnifying lenses.
One of the stars — which is 14 billion light-years away — was magnified over 2,000 times by this technique.
Two teams of researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope each found a star whose twinkling was unexplained by regular theories.
They found that one of the stars twinkled because of the relative movement of its own galaxy and the one that was magnifying it.
The other star was twinkling because of repeating explosions on its surface.
Studying these twinkles, the authors can reveal not only the physical properties of the stars themselves, but more importantly the distribution of the dark matter — the material that cannot be directly observed but whose additional mass is thought to explain the observed internal motions of galaxies — in the lensing galaxy clusters.