A stellar explosion has smashed the record for most distant object in the known universe.
The gamma-ray burst came from about 13 billion light-years away, and represents a relic from when the universe was just 630 million years old.
“It easily surpassed the most distant galaxies and quasars,” said Edo Berger, an astrophysicist at Harvard University and a leading member of the team that first demonstrated the burst’s origin. “In fact, it showed that we can use these spectacular events to pinpoint the first generation of stars and galaxies.”
“The burst most likely arose from the explosion of a massive star,” said Derek Fox, an astrophysicist at Penn State University. “We’re seeing the demise of a star — and probably the birth of a black hole — in one of the universe’s earliest stellar generations.”
Gamma-ray bursts mark the dying explosion of large stars that have run out of fuel. The collapsing star cores form either black holes or neutron stars that create an intense burst of high-energy gamma-rays and form some of the brightest explosions in the early universe.