A staff of scientists working with the Murchison Widefield Array (WMA) radio telescope is looking for the sign for the primary stars of the Universe. These first stars had been fashioned after the darkish age of the universe. To seek out their first gentle, the researchers are searching for the sign of impartial hydrogen, the fuel that dominated the universe after the Center Ages.
It took some time for the primary stars to kind. After the Large Bang, the universe was extraordinarily sizzling; too sizzling for atoms to kind. With out atoms, there can be no stars. It was solely round 377,000 years after the Large Bang that the Universe grew and cooled sufficient for atoms to kind, principally impartial hydrogen with a bit helium. (And traces of lithium.) After that, the primary stars started to kind, through the time of reionization.
To seek out the elusive sign of this impartial hydrogen, the MWA has been reconfigured. The MWA is situated in western Western Australia and had 2,488 radio antennas organized in 128 "tiles" when commissioned in 2013. To seek for the elusive sign of impartial hydrogen, the variety of tiles was doubled to 256, and rearranged. All information from these receivers are launched right into a supercomputer known as Correlator.
A diagram of the evolution of the large bang universe to the current day, with two epochs of reionization. Credit score: NASA, ESA and A. Feild (STScI)
"If we have a look at completely different radio frequencies or wavelengths, the telescope behaves a bit otherwise," mentioned Pober. "Correcting the telescope response is completely important to then separate the astrophysical contaminants and the sign of curiosity."
Matrix reconfiguration, information evaluation methods, the ability of the supercomputer, and the onerous work of researchers have produced outcomes. The doc presents a brand new higher restrict for the sign of impartial hydrogen. That is the second time that scientists working with the MWA have printed a brand new, extra exact restrict. With continued progress, scientists hope to search out the elusive sign itself.
"This evaluation demonstrates that the Part Two improve has had lots of the desired results and that the brand new analytical methods will enhance future analyzes," mentioned Pober. "The truth that MWA has now printed the 2 finest consecutive sign limits provides impetus to the concept this experiment and its strategy are very promising."