Several teams of astronomers are working hard on detecting the signals emitted by the first stars and galaxies in our universe. Such a feat has not been achieved at this point, but they are getting closer.
The signal that is being tracked down by the researchers is associated with the start of the Epoch of Reionization (also known as EoR), an event that occurred almost 12 billion years ago. At that time, the first stars and galaxies started to form, marking the beginning of space as we know it today.
While the period is a landmark in the history of the universe, information connected to it is quite limited. However, there are some theories related to what could have happened. As they start, the first atoms that formed were hydrogen ions with a positive charge. They were crammed together along with hydrogen atoms, forming neutral hydrogen that spread across the universe.
Scientists Could Learn More About The Dawn of the Universe
The scientists plan to find the signal emitted by the neutral hydrogen, as the substance was plentiful in the universe during the early stages. Nothing has been found at this point, but a new limit has been established, and it is thought that something would have been found if the signal was a bit beyond the limit.
To increase the chance of successful detection, researchers plan to isolate it with the help of new and powerful instruments. One of the main challenges is posed by radiation noise. Neutral hydrogen radiation measures 21 centimeters, but during 12 billion years of travel, it was stretched to two meters.
However, several other sources emit radiation that is considerably stronger than the signal that is being tracked by the researchers. Even weak FM radio signals can be strong enough to contaminate the data collected by a telescope. Further research is already underway, and scientists are confident that better results will be achieved in the future.