The Morning Star

Niall Leah
2 min readApr 11, 2022

The Hubble telescope has broken the record on the most distant thing we have ever seen in the Universe.

NASA images (Shutterstock)

So NASA’s Hubble telescope made a pretty exciting discovery.

The light from a star reflected At roughly 28 billion light-years away. It’s the most distant object we have ever seen in the cosmos. It’s named after the half-elf Earendel from Tolkien’s Silmarillion.

In old English, it means “Morning star.”

The star is estimated to have been 50 to 100 times the size of the Sun, and It’s taken over 12 billion years for the light of the morning star to reach us. This, of course, means it probably no longer exists.

A lot can happen in 12 billion years.

One of the most mind-boggling things is that the light originated from a much younger universe. It’s a snapshot of a different cosmic era. The Hubble space telescope often doubles as a time machine observing ages past.

It’s captured a baby picture of a spry young universe only 900 million years after the big bang. The Universe was basically an infant when this light was emitted.

7% of its current age.

In the 12 billion LY it took for the light to reach us, the Universe has continued to expand, taking the (late) stars’ distance from 4 billion to 24 billion light-years away.

I went through a couple of cups of coffee, trying to get my head around that last one.

Erdendel existed in a universe that didn’t contain many elements that make up our planet. We’re essentially staring at the period in time when the first stars and galaxies were forming. An age known as the cosmic dawn where the reactions taking place created the compounds that make up our bodies and everything we can touch.

Is there anything else so equally mesmerizing and incomprehensible?

Reading this left me in equal parts perplexed and wonderstruck. I’m going to go take a nap, but I’ll be dreaming of ancient stars and the wonder of the vast cosmos when I do.

Niall Leah

An ex-pat from the UK living in Chengdu, China. I satisfy my endless curiosity about the incredible journey of humanity by reading, traveling, and writing.