sci22004 — Announcement
Hubble's Biggest Science Release: Earendel
29 April 2022
- By Bethany Downer -
On 30 March 2022 a special science release was published that made headlines worldwide. Hubble had established an extraordinary new benchmark by detecting the light of a star (nicknamed Earendel) that existed within the first billion years after the Universe’s birth in the Big Bang, at a redshift of 6.2 — the most distant individual star ever seen. These results were published on this date in Nature.
As expected, this release made a significant impact in the media and was a prominent topic of conversation on social media platforms. In fact, this was the largest coverage of any ESA/Hubble release recorded to date! The previous top three highest-reaching releases were as follows:
- heic1717 October 2017: Hubble observes source of gravitational waves for the first time
- heic 1916 September 2019: Hubble Finds Water Vapour on Habitable-Zone Exoplanet for the First Time
- heic2007 April 2020: Hubble Celebrates 30th Anniversary with a Tapestry of Blazing Starbirth
Over 4600 articles were published online to cover this result. 38% of these articles were published by European media in European languages and 26% of these articles mentioned ESA or the European Space Agency in some capacity. Of particular note, 73% of these articles mentioned JWST, Webb, or James Webb. This is of relevance because Earendel will be observed by Webb later this year to confirm that it is indeed a star, and to constrain its age, temperature, mass and radius.
Looking ahead to ESA/Hubble’s activities in the remainder of 2022 and beyond, we want to continue to emphasise the role of ESA and the European astronomical community in the telescope’s continued success and the use of Hubble data by European institutions and scientists. As Chief Science Communications Officer, my primary goal is to promote the Hubble Space Telescope’s science for the European Space Agency in close collaboration with the ESA Project Scientist for Hubble. ESA/Hubble and ESAHubble.org can help Hubble scientists by producing and distributing press releases, image processing, web articles, artists’ impressions, and high-definition videos — like the Earendel release mentioned above. If you think any aspect of your research could be of interest to the public at large, or your observations might produce an image suitable for public release, please get in touch so we can explore possible avenues for promoting your work!
ESA/Hubble Chief Science Communications Officer
About the Announcement