There were no galaxies, no supernovae, and no quasars.
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The universe primarily consisted of neutral hydrogen gas floating in an omnipresent sea of background radiation leftover from the Big Bang. Over time, gravity slowly shepherded the densest regions of hydrogen gas into compact clouds, which ultimately collapsed to form the first stars.
When these primordial stars first began shining within the pitch-black void, they blasted the surrounding hydrogen gas with ultraviolet radiation. This excited the hydrogen atoms within the gas, causing them to absorb energy from the background radiation at one particular frequency — 1. Theoretically, astronomers knew that they should be able to detect the absorption or corresponding emission from this process, but until this study, they have been unable to do so.
Initially, the team was searching for frequencies that corresponded to later points in cosmic time, but in , they extended their search to lower frequencies, which would have come from even earlier. In terms of a direct detection of a signal from the hydrogen gas itself, this has got to be the earliest.
Astronomers May Have Just Detected the Universe’s First Stars
The design for the radio spectrometer used in this study is relatively simple, working much like an FM radio receiver. It consists of two rectangular plates that function together as a radio antenna, and these plates are mounted on fiberglass legs sitting atop a metal mesh carpet. As radio waves enter the antenna, a sophisticated receiver amplifies them before a computer digitally records them. Surprisingly, in addition to detecting the first sign of hydrogen gas being blasted by radiation from the first stars, the investigators may have also unexpectedly shed light on the true nature of dark matter.
The early universe | CERN
The results of the study revealed that the pre-star universe was likely a much colder place than previously thought. In fact, the researchers found that the hydrogen gas in the early universe was less than half the temperature they expected to find. This suggests one of two things: But for now, Bowman and his team have earned a moment to bask in the glory of their discovery. Are brown dwarfs stars, planets or neither?
First earthlings around the Moon were two Soviet tortoises. Volcanoes of mud erupt from dwarf planet Ceres.
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- Limits to Globalization: North-South Divergence (Rethinking Globalizations).
- Fingerprinting the very first stars!
NASA targets next-gen nuclear reactors for spacecraft, space colonies. The sky this week for September 14 to TESS begins the hunt for rocky worlds. Astronomy Messier Flashcards Set.
Mercury Globe from Astronomy magazine. The Milky Way Inside and Out. Venus Globe from Astronomy magazine. Mars Globe from Astronomy magazine. Astronomy Crab Nebula Jigsaw Puzzle. Astronomy 40 Degree North Planisphere.
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Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes. Login or Register now. Most recent Oldest to newest. This nearby free-range planet has its own auroras. This earned them the Nobel prize in physics in Physicists had assumed that matter in the universe would slow its rate of expansion; gravity would eventually cause the universe to fall back on its centre. Though the Big Bang theory cannot describe what the conditions were at the very beginning of the universe, it can help physicists describe the earliest moments after the start of the expansion.
In the first moments after the Big Bang, the universe was extremely hot and dense. As the universe cooled, conditions became just right to give rise to the building blocks of matter — the quarks and electrons of which we are all made.
A few millionths of a second later, quarks aggregated to produce protons and neutrons. Within minutes, these protons and neutrons combined into nuclei. As the universe continued to expand and cool, things began to happen more slowly. It took , years for electrons to be trapped in orbits around nuclei, forming the first atoms. These were mainly helium and hydrogen, which are still by far the most abundant elements in the universe.
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