The Atlantic

A Tantalizing Signal From the Early Universe

Astronomers have found evidence of the first stars igniting in cold, dark gas, a detection with huge implications for our understanding of the cosmos.
Source: N.R. Fuller / National Science Foundation

Near the beginning, not long after the Big Bang, the universe was a cold and dark place swirling with invisible gas, mostly hydrogen and helium. Over millions of years, gravity pulled some of this primordial gas into pockets. The pockets eventually became so dense they collapsed under their own weight and ignited, flooding the darkness with ultraviolet radiation. These were the very first stars in the universe, flashing into existence like popcorn kernels unfurling in the hot oil of an empty pan.

Everything flowed from this cosmic dawn. The first stars illuminated the universe, collapsed into the black holes that keep galaxies together, and produced the heavy elements that would make planets and moons and the human beings that evolved to gaze upon it all.

This epoch in our cosmic history has long fascinated

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min lettiMedical
Why Kids Might Be Key to Reaching Herd Immunity
A few days after Christmas, Molly Hering, 14, and her brother, Sam, 12, got their first shots as part of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids. Their mom had heard about a clinical trial being conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Mo
The Atlantic3 min lettiAmerican Government
‘Unity’ Is Not What America Needs Right Now
President Biden’s pursuit of solidarity is well intentioned. But without concrete plans to hold bad actors accountable, his efforts will be useless.
The Atlantic7 min lettiAmerican Government
How to Undo One of Trump’s Worst, Most Despicable Policies
As President Joe Biden takes office, his administration will get to work reversing some of the Trump administration’s most controversial and destructive policies, including the elimination of key environmental protections, the creation of new immigra