Washington: Researchers have detected the light from a star that exploded more than 12 billion years ago.
At its death it glowed so brightly that it outshone its entire galaxy by a million times.
This brilliant flash travelled across space for 12.7 billion years to our planet Earth that hadn`t even existed at the time of the explosion.
By analyzing this light, astronomers learned about a galaxy that was otherwise too small, faint and far away for even the Hubble Space Telescope to see.
"This star lived at a very interesting time, the so-called dark ages just a billion years after the Big Bang," lead author Ryan Chornock of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), said.
"In a sense, we`re forensic scientists investigating the death of a star and the life of a galaxy in the earliest phases of cosmic time," he added.
The star announced its death with a flash of gamma rays, an event known as a gamma-ray burst (GRB). GRB 130606A was classified as a long GRB since the burst lasted for more than four minutes.
It was detected by NASA`s Swift spacecraft on June 6th. Chornock and his team quickly organized follow-up observations by the MMT Telescope in Arizona and the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii.
The findings are published online in The Astrophysical Journal.