How Scientists Are Hunting for the Universe’s First Stars
We have yet to observe the first couple hundred million years after the Big Bang. Cosmologists have coined this period the Dark Ages.
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Radio telescopes allow us to see the universe as it was just after the Big Bang, nearly 13.8 billion years ago. But after that early snapshot, there’s approximately one billion years we haven’t been able to see clearly, this is what cosmologists call the dark ages.
Probing into this hidden era of the universe can tell us more about how it took shape, and even the nature of dark matter.
The tools cosmologists use to see the history of the universe are getting better all the time. They’re setting up radio telescopes and antennae around the world, sometimes in remote locations to avoid human interference like an island between South Africa and the Antarctic, or on a lake in the Tibetan Plateau.
The new technology is making the enormous amounts of data these observatories churn out easier to analyze. And scientists think they can finally start figuring out what happened in the universe’s dark ages.
Find out more about this new technology, how it is mapping the universe’s first stars, and what we can learn about the very first days of our galaxy on this episode of Elements.
#BigBang #Universe #Space #Stars #Science #Galaxy #Seeker #Elements
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“In 2016, a team led by Akio Inoue at Osaka Sangyo University in Japan used ALMA to find a signal of oxygen emitted 13.1 billion years ago. Only a few months later, Nicolas Laporte of University College London used the telescope to detect oxygen from 100 million years earlier.”
Dark Ages, Dark Matter
Dark Ages, Dark Matter
“Cosmologists call the first couple of hundred million years of the universe’s history the Dark Ages. This is the period until the first stars formed. The Cosmic Dawn is the name given to the epoch during which these first stars formed.”
Epoch of Reionization
“The Epoch of Reionization (EOR) refers to the period in the history of the universe during which the predominantly neutral intergalactic medium was ionized by the emergence of the first luminous sources. These sources may have been stars, galaxies, quasars, or some combination of the above.”
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