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Astronomers have developed a new way to identify the oldest stars

BingMag.com <b>Astronomers</b> <b>have</b> <b>developed</b> a <b>new</b> <b>way</b> to <b>identify</b> the <b>oldest</b> stars

Astronomers think a new observational technique that relies on detecting weak radio signals will allow them to spot the first stars that formed only shortly after the birth of the universe. This technique, which was introduced on July 21 (30 July) in the journal "Nature Astronomy", looks for a type of signature of electromagnetic radiation called the 21 cm line. emitted by the hydrogen atoms that filled the young universe in the first hundreds of thousands of years after the Big Bang.

This signal is very weak, about a hundred thousand times weaker than the radio signals emitted by objects in the Milky Way. It is the Milky Way, and therefore complex data analysis is needed to separate the signal from the other noise detected by the radio antennas.

Eloy de Lera Acedo, an astronomer at the University of Cambridge and the lead author of these studies. "Our method jointly collects data from multiple antennas and in one frequency band," he said It analyzes more widely than similar current instruments.

By measuring the difference between the radiation of the hydrogen clouds and the signal behind them, Astronomers hope to see the stars as shadows in the fog.

De Lara Acedo added. : "When the first stars formed, the universe was mostly empty and consisted mostly of hydrogen and helium. Due to gravity, the elements eventually came together and conditions were created for nuclear fusion, which formed the first stars. But these early stars were surrounded by clouds of neutral hydrogen, which absorb light well. Therefore, it is difficult to directly observe or identify the light behind the clouds.

The James Webb space telescope, which has recently published its first scientific images, is looking for the first light in the world; But using a different technique. The web detects infrared rays, or basically heat. Because heat can penetrate dust clouds, the web allows Astronomers to peer into the most impenetrable regions of the universe.

In contrast, a new method of radio astronomy as part of the project "Radio Experiment to Analyze Cosmic Hydrogen" ( REACH) and was developed based on previous observations that indicated the detection of a 21 cm line. However, previous measurements could not be repeated, and scientists now suspect that the previous signal may have been an error. "If we can confirm that the signal detected in the previous experiment was indeed from the first stars, it would have very important results," said De Lera Asedo.

The researchers also simulated real observations using multiple radio antennas. used to improve data reliability compared to previous measurements that relied on only one antenna. Thus, new real measurements will be made later this year in the Karoo of South Africa. Dirk de Villiers, a radio astronomer at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and one of the authors of the new paper, said: We are very excited to see how well this system will perform and we are confident that we will make this difficult diagnosis."

Scientists have previously detected signals from the "Big Bang" in the form of the microwave background. had identified the cosmos, but the appearance of the first stars in the universe after the dark ages in the first hundreds of thousands of years is still a missing piece, and future research will help identify it.

Cover photo: Early stars in 400,000 years after the Big Bang covered in a thick hydrogen cloud. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: Space

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