Scientists who use Hubble Space Telescope Just a great find, and they gave it a totally unique name.
A team of researchers led by Brian Welch, an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, announced Wednesday (March 30) that through observations from Hubble, DISCOVER furthest single star since when. And although the technical designation of the star is WHL0137-LS, they gave it a more attractive name: Earendel.
Fans of author J.R.R. Tolkien, best known for his fantasy novels including the “Lord of the Rings” and “Silmarlion” series, may already find this name familiar.
As NASA astronomer Michael Thaler confirmed to Space.com, the name is, in fact, inspired by Tolkien’s fictional writings.
This star, Thaler said, “has the wonderful name of Earndel, and this one is actually from Tolkien.”
(Thaler was not part of the discovery team but represents four science departments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland — Earth sciences, planetary sciences, heliophysics, and astrophysics — as the Center’s Assistant Administrator for Science Communication.)
In Old English, Earendel is a personal name, but it may also mean “morning star” or “dawn.” In The Lord of the Rings, Eärendil is a half-elven character who travels the seas carrying a jewel, the “Silmaril”, called the Morning Star.
Of the star’s name, Thaler said: “It means the star of the dawn, which is an old English word. It is beautiful. And this is a star, literally, since the dawn of history, the dawn of stars.” “This is the first star, the farthest we’ve ever seen, and I think Earndell is a beautiful name for her.”
“We suspect it’s not the absolute first generation of stars,” she added. “We think that this might be one of the next… maybe a few tens of millions of years after star formation started. [in the universe]. “
But, while this distant star, located 12.9 billion light-years from Earth, may not be an absolute first-generation star in existence, it is the most distant single star ever found, so the name seems quite apt.
“The young man who discovered the star chose the name,” Thaler added, probably referring to Welch. But, while Welch’s personal interest in Tolkien came up with this name, Thaler added that she and many other team members admire Tolkien’s work as well.
In fact, while speaking to Space.com over a video call, Thaler showed off her tattoos on each arm — writing in the elven language that Tolkien had created for works like “The Silmarillion.”
“Reader. Infuriatingly humble coffee enthusiast. Future teen idol. Tv nerd. Explorer. Organizer. Twitter aficionado. Evil music fanatic.”