A team of researchers began what it might seem, an impossible space-mission. They worked with the Murchison Widefield Array (WMA) radio telescope to identify the signal from the Universe’s original stars, which appeared after the Universe’s Dark Ages. The team started to look after the signal from neutral hydrogen, the gas that governed the Universe after the Dark Ages.
For any results, the MWA needed to be reconfigured, so its number of tiles was doubled to 256, and the whole array was repositioned. The collected data arrived in a supercomputer, known as the Correlator. This study, conducted by Wenyang Li, a Ph.D. student from Brown University, was aimed at getting some insights about the power of the signal from the neutral hydrogen. The report rated the lowest limit, yet for that signal, a fundamental result in the finding for the dim signal itself.
The Light from the Very First Stars in the Universe Will Be Soon Detected
Jonathan Pober, an assistant professor of physics at Brown University and part of the team, stated, ‘We can say with confidence that if the neutral hydrogen signal was any stronger than the limit we set in the paper.” What researchers wanted to find out is how the neutral hydrogen modified as the Dark Ages gave away to the Epoch of Reionization, and the Epoch of Reionization displayed. Such a mission, however, was very hard, because the signal was dim, and it needed remarkably sensitive detectors to identify it.
Though the neutral hydrogen initially emitted its radiation at a 21 cm wavelength, the signal had been strained due to the development of the Universe. Currently, it’s 2 meters, and the signal is lost among a host of other similar signals, human and natural-produced. Such a fact is why the MWA is situated in remote Australia, to detach it from as much radio sounds as possible. Returning to the Correlator, the supercomputer with which the team also works, it has the power to dismiss contaminating signals. It can also estimate the origin of the MWA itself.