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This is how light entered the universe after the Big Bang

This is how light entered the universe after the Big Bang

© APA / AFP / ESA / Hubble / HO / HO

Much information about the origin of the universe is still in the dark. A research group took a closer look at an early stage using the most detailed simulations to date.

after Big Bang, about 13.8 billion years ago, the room was hot, ionized (positively charged) Gas filled. As this gas cools, the so-called “dark ages” (“Dark Ages“).


500 million years Cold universe. Elements such as hydrogen and helium were formed. At that time there were particles neutral Loaded, there were no light sources. Gradually, the clouds of the resulting gas and the first condense quasars And the galaxies He brought light back into the universe.

After a billion years, he finally came.”era of reionizationThe atoms that formed in the first stage shortly after the Big Bang and were neutrally charged back in the Dark Age again. ionized, that is, positively charged. This originated ionized plasmaHeavier elements formed. The universe became transparent again as we know it today.

From the Big Bang to today, the universe has gone through many stages

light and gas interaction

researchers WithThe Harvard university and des Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics We have this stage now with a simulation called thesan check up. The epoch of reionization is particularly difficult to trace because it involves a chaotic interaction of radiation, gases, and gravity. So far, it is unclear how the “new” light interacted with the gas clouds.

The algorithm used a cosmic dust model and calculated how light interacted with gas. Then the simulation shows a cubic model of the universe with a volume 300 million light years. The team looked at about a while 400,000 to 1 billion years after “the great explosion”.

High precision and long range

Thesan’s foundation was a model of how the galaxy formed. In addition, they added accounts of how light from galaxies and stars interacted with the gas and re-ionized it. This process, according to the researchers, is so complex that no previous simulations have been able to correctly depict it.

To run the simulation, the researchers used a . file SuperMUC-NG supercomputer. The result was a unique model at the same time High accuracy And the Long-term he is.

Galaxies (second panel) formed from dark matter (top) and gases. It produces ionized photons that start the reionization process (third panel) and heat the gas (bottom).

Little light in the beginning of the universe

The first result is the realization that light cannot travel very far in this early stage of the universe. “The distance is very small and only increases at the end of the reionization phase. Then the range increases by factor 10 Within a few hundred million years” Rahul Kanaanwho worked on the simulation, in the current situation.

Scientists were also able to find clues about the type of galaxies that were involved in the reionization phase. especially her Dimensions It seems to have an effect.

With Thesan and the new data, the researchers promise to “fundamentally change the understanding of the universe.” Now they are waiting for new insights from this James Webb Telescopewhich will look into the past more than any telescope before it to continue the search.

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