Icarus, officially know as MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star 1, is the farthest individual star ever seen. It is only visible because it is being magnified by the gravity lensing of a massive galaxy cluster, located about 5 billion light-years from Earth. That cluster, MACS J1149+2223, shown at left, sits between Earth and the galaxy that contains the distant star. Icarus and its galaxy are 9 billion light-years away. The panels at the right show a view taken in 2011 without Icarus visible and after the star was lensed in 2016.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Traveling to a Redshift 7 Galaxy

This animation using Hubble images takes us to a distant galaxy 13 billion light-years from the Earth. In that trip we experience how the light is bent by gravitational lensing caused by a massive cluster of galaxies Abell 2218 (the yellow galaxies), and as we make our return journey, we see how the banana-like stretched images of the galaxies are straightened out and in some cases of a very distant galaxy, bent images merge together into one.

Video Credit: ESA