Preparing to study the epoch of reionization


One “tile” of the Murchison Wide-field Array telescope. In preparation for looking for the first generation of galaxies, the facility has published the first catalog of extragalactic sources of contamination in one of the fields of view. Credit: Murchison Wide-field Array

The epoch when the very first stars appeared is a key period of cosmic history. These stars began the manufacture of the chemical elements (those heavier than hydrogen and helium) and their light began the reionization of the neutral cosmic gas. These stars thus mark the dawn of the universe as we know it today and the start of the so-called Epoch of Reionization. The term “reionization” refers to the process whereby these atoms are prompted (by the ultraviolet light from new stars) to shed some of their…


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