Developed a way to see the oldest stars in the universe

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists led by astronomers at the University of Cambridge has developed a way to observe the oldest stars hidden in clouds of hydrogen that filled the universe 378,000 years after the Big Bang. This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Early starlight observations will be made with the next-generation Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope.

The electromagnetic radiation from these objects is expected to be about 100,000 times weaker than other radio signals, so the distortion that is inevitable with radio instruments introduces a lot of noise into the data.

To solve this problem, the researchers came up with a new methodology as part of the REACH (Radio Experiment for the Analysis of Cosmic Hydrogen) experiment to search for radiation from early hydrogen clouds.

The method is based on Bayesian statistics, which makes it possible to find the cosmological signal even in the presence of interference from the telescope itself and background cosmic radio noise.

The scientists simulated a real-world observation using multiple Square Kilometer Array radio antennas over a wide range of frequencies, and found that this approach significantly improves the reliability of the data.

The first stars and galaxies formed some time after the epoch of recombination, when the universe first became transparent to light.

The radiation of these first luminous sources heated and reionized the clouds of neutral hydrogen filling the Universe, which, in turn, emitted radio emission in a line of 21 centimeters.

Although there are models of how the intensity of this radio emission changed in the early universe, there is still a lot of uncertainty due to the lack of observational data.


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