The gravitationally lensed star WHL 0137-LS, nicknamed Earendel, was identified with a photometric redshift z phot = 6.2 ± 0.1 based on images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Here we present James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Near Infrared Camera images of Earendel in eight filters spanning 0.8-5.0 μm. In these higher-resolution images, Earendel remains a single unresolved point source on the lensing critical curve, increasing the lower limit on the lensing magnification to μ > 4000 and restricting the source plane radius further to r < 0.02 pc, or ∼4000 au. These new observations strengthen the conclusion that Earendel is best explained by an individual star or multiple star system and support the previous photometric redshift estimate. Fitting grids of stellar spectra to our photometry yields a stellar temperature of T eff ≃ 13,000-16,000 K, assuming the light is dominated by a single star. The delensed bolometric luminosity in this case ranges from log ( L ) = 5.8 to 6.6 L ⊙, which is in the range where one expects luminous blue variable stars. Follow-up observations, including JWST NIRSpec scheduled for late 2022, are needed to further unravel the nature of this object, which presents a unique opportunity to study massive stars in the first billion years of the universe.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Astrophysical Journal Letters|
|State||Published - Nov 1 2022|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science