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1st of March 2018
First signs of the earliest stars
Astronomers have detected signals from the earliest stars in the Universe using a small radio antenna, located at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia. The discovery, led by Judd Bowman from Arizona State University, reveals evidence of the first stars, born 180 million years after the big bang, or 13.6 billion years ago. After the big bang, the Universe was in complete darkness and astronomers have long been searching for evidence of the cosmological dawn -- when the first lights appeared. The elusive signal has been discovered by the Experiment to Detect the Global EoR (Epoch of Reionization) Signature (EDGES), which was described is a series of ADAPs last year: on Oct 23, Oct 24, and Oct 25.

"The infrastructure and logistical support that CSIRO has provided for EDGES has enabled our small team to focus on developing the new instrumentation and techniques needed for the experiment. CSIRO’s operations team at the MRO has been phenomenal. They have helped to install the experiment and maintain it between our visits to the site. Their expertise has been invaluable, they helped us learn how to operate in the outback environment. In addition astronomers at the Curtin University node of ICRAR supported the EDGES project by sharing equipment and supplies on site at the MRO," Dr Bowman said.

The image above (courtesy US National Science Foundation) depicts the expansion of the Universe with its key stages marked, including the appearance of the first stars around 180 million years after the big bang. The full paper appears in this week's issue of Nature.

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