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Hubble Space Telescope recently detected a star that is the most distant ever seen. Located 28 billion light-years from Earth, the ancient object — which could be a single star or a double-star system — may be up to 500 times more massive than our sun; it’s also millions of times brighter than the sun and was born when the universe was young.

Hubble was able to spot the distant star during a nine-hour exposure because of the star’s fortuitous alignment in the background of a cluster of galaxies. Gravity from the massive foreground galaxies warped space itself; this created an effect known as gravitational lensing that magnified the star’s light tens of thousands of times, making it visible to Hubble’s instruments, scientists reported on Wednesday (March 30) in the journal Nature

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