December 2022 • 2022ApJ...940L..54C
Abstract • We report the discovery of an extremely magnified star at redshift z = 2.65 in the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) NIRISS pre-imaging of the A2744 galaxy-cluster field. The star's background host galaxy lies on a fold caustic of the foreground lens, and the cluster creates a pair of images of the region close to the lensed star. We identified the bright transient in one of the merging images at a distance of ~0.″15 from the critical curve by subtracting the JWST F115W and F150W imaging from coadditions of archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) F105W and F125W images and F140W and F160W images, respectively. Since the time delay between the two images should be only hours, the transient must be the microlensing event of an individual star, as opposed to a luminous stellar explosion that would persist for days to months. Analysis of individual exposures suggests that the star's magnification is not changing rapidly during the observations. From photometry of the point source through the F115W, F150W, and F200W filters, we identify a strong Balmer break, and modeling allows us to constrain the star's temperature to be approximately 7000-12,000 K.