"Let there be light" - the era of the first galaxies


Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)


Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2020
Funding: 3000000 SEK


Description

The current frontier of observational cosmology is the Epoch of
Reionization, the period when the first stars and galaxies formed and
ionizing light escaped into the intergalactic medium, gradually ionizing
and heating the entire Universe. This period is of fundamental
importance for understanding our Universe as the oldest stars, the first
black holes and the `seeds' of modern day galaxies formed during this
era.
However, we do not know the answers to the key questions: "When did it start?", "How long did it last?", "What were the sources of ionizing photons?" and "Do the answers to these questions fit the standard cosmological paradigms?" These questions can be answered by observations of the 21cm line produced by neutral hydrogen in the intergalactic medium. This signal, redshifted to lower frequencies, is currently being observed by the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) EoR collaboration of which I am a core member. The highly ambitious and much more powerful Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will start observing it by 2020.
This proposal combines groundbreaking observational and theoretical approaches to exploit the full potential of these observations. Using world leading computer simulations, we will use the LOFAR data to statistically characterize and interpret the results, . We will furthermore develop the currently unavailable but absolutely vital tools needed to determine the nature of the sources from the complex 3D tomographic data the transformational SKA will deliver.


Last updated on 2017-05-10 at 07:32