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  • richardmitnick 7:27 pm on July 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cosmic Dawn, Darm Matter and Hydrogen?, , ,   

    From physicsworld.com: “Did dark matter have a chilling effect on the early universe?” 

    From physicsworld.com

    10 Jul 2018
    Edwin Cartlidge

    Early days: artist’s impression of stars forming from primordial hydrogen gas. (Courtesy: E R Fuller/National Science Foundation)

    New research lends further support to the idea that a detection of surprisingly strong absorption by primordial hydrogen gas, reported earlier this year, could be evidence of dark matter. The new results, described in three papers in Physical Review Letters, are theoretical and do not settle the issue. Indeed, one group is sceptical of the dark-matter interpretation. But the work heightens interest in ongoing observations of the “cosmic dawn”, with new results from radio telescopes expected within the next year.

    According to cosmologists, the hydrogen gas that existed in the very early universe was in thermal equilibrium with the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which meant that the gas would not have been visible either through absorption of the microwave photons or through emission. But at the start of the cosmic dawn about 100 million years after the Big Bang, ultraviolet light from the first stars would have excited the hydrogen atoms and shifted the distribution of electrons within the lower and upper levels of the hyperfine transition. As such, the hydrogen would have started to absorb much more radiation at the transition wavelength (21 cm), which would be seen today as a dip at longer, re-shifted wavelengths in the CMB spectrum.

    Dark Energy Camera Enables Astronomers a Glimpse at the Cosmic Dawn

    In February, researchers working on the Experiment to Detect the Global Epoch of Reionization Signature (EDGES) telescope reported in Nature that they had seen just such a dip at a wavelength of 380 cm in data from their small ground-based antenna system in Western Australia.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia.

    The observation was exciting news, but nevertheless in line with standard cosmological theory. However, the dip was actually twice as deep as expected – immediately leading theorists to speculate that the hydrogen was in fact interacting with particles of dark matter.

    “The stakes are high because if the signal is real, this experiment is worth two Nobel prizes,” says Abraham Loeb of Harvard University. “One for being first to detect the 21 cm signal from the cosmic dawn and the second for finding an unexpected level of hydrogen absorption that may be indicative of new physics.”

    New or old force?

    The idea is that the dark matter would have been colder than the hydrogen atoms and so interactions between the two would have transferred energy from the gas to the dark matter – so cooling the gas and boosting absorption. The possibility of this mechanism being tied to the switching on of the first stars was proposed by Rennan Barkana of Tel Aviv University in Israel, but Barkana suggested that the interaction could involve a new fundamental force between dark and ordinary matter.

    However, Loeb and Harvard colleague Julián Muñoz argued that there could be no such force as it would have led to stars cooling more quickly than is observed. Instead, they reckon that the interaction could be that of familiar electromagnetism – requiring that a small fraction of dark matter particles have little mass and carry about a millionth of the charge of the electron.

    That view has now won cautious backing from other researchers in the US. By imposing constraints from a wider range of cosmological and astrophysical observations, Asher Berlin of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California and colleagues have shown in a new paper [Physical Review Letters] that dark matter interactions could indeed explain the EDGES results if up to 2% of dark matter weighs in at less than a tenth the mass of the proton and has a charge less than 0.01% of the electron’s. Berlin and colleagues do, however, add that this scenario would require “additional forces” to subsequently deplete the dark matter so its abundance is in line with observations of the present universe. “Although it’s possible that dark matter could produce the EDGES result, it is not easy or simple to do so,” says Berlin’s colleague Dan Hooper of Fermilab near Chicago.

    Extraordinary claims

    Loeb acknowledges that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” adding that the apparent 21 cm signal from EDGES could be nothing more than instrumental noise or absorption by dust grains in our galaxy. He looks forward to new results from other experiments operating at different sites – including SARAS-2, LEDA, and PRIzM – and expects new data to be available within the next year.

    Even if the signal is confirmed, however, dark matter is not necessarily the culprit. Guido D’Amico and colleagues at CERN in Geneva argue in the second new paper [Physical Review Letters] that proponents of the dark-matter interpretation have carried out an “incomplete analysis” by neglecting the heating effect of dark-matter annihilation. In particular, they say that annihilations could inject electrons and low-energy photons into the hydrogen gas, thereby potentially heating the gas more than it is cooled. As such, they conclude, dark-matter annihilations are “strongly constrained” by a 21 cm signal.

    In a third new paper [Physical Review Letters], on the other hand, Anastasia Fialkov of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US and colleagues (including Barkana) show that the dark-matter hypothesis yields an additional prediction that can be tested using different kinds of radio telescope. They have found that the 21 cm signal should vary across the sky by up to 30 times as much as it would do if there were no charged interactions between ordinary and dark matter – and pointing out that this prediction can be tested using low-frequency interferometers.

    Muñoz is enthusiastic about these spatial measurements, explaining that they are far more immune to foreground noise and other potential systematic errors than the data collected by EDGES, and are therefore, he says, “more reliable”. He reckons that a couple of interferometers – LOFAR in the Netherlands and HERA in South Africa – might have gathered sufficient data within the next five to ten years to establish definitively whether or not the dip at 21 cm really is due to charged dark matter.

    ASTRON LOFAR Radio Antenna Bank, Nethrlands

    UC Berkeley Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA), South Africa

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    PhysicsWorld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.
    IOP Institute of Physics

  • richardmitnick 11:27 am on July 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Cosmic Dawn, ,   

    From ASU: “ASU astronomers find young galaxies that appeared soon after the Big Bang” 

    ASU Bloc



    Using powerful Dark Energy Camera in Chile, researchers reach the cosmic dawn.

    Dark Energy Survey

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL

    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    ASU astronomers Sangeeta Malhotra and James Rhoads, working with international teams in Chile and China, have discovered 23 young galaxies, seen as they were 800 million years after the Big Bang. The results from this sample have been recently published in The Astrophysical Journal.

    False color image of a 2 square degree region of the LAGER survey field, created from images taken in the optical at 500 nm (blue), in the near-infrared at 920 nm (red), and in a narrow-band filter centered at 964 nm (green). The small white boxes indicate the positions of the 23 LAEs discovered in the survey. The detailed insets (yellow) show two of the brightest LAEs. Credit Zhenya Zheng (SHAO) & Junxian Wang (USTC).

    Long ago, about 300,000 years after the beginning of the universe (the Big Bang), the universe was dark. There were no stars or galaxies, and the universe was filled with neutral hydrogen gas. In the next half-billion years or so, the first galaxies and stars appeared. Their energetic radiation ionized their surroundings, illuminating and transforming the universe.

    This dramatic transformation, known as re-ionization, occurred sometime in the interval between 300 million years and 1 billion years after the Big Bang. Astronomers are trying to pinpoint this milestone more precisely, and the galaxies found in this study help in this determination.

    “Before re-ionization, these galaxies were very hard to see, because their light is scattered by gas between galaxies, like a car’s headlights in fog,” Malhotra said. “As enough galaxies turn on and ‘burn off the fog’ they become easier to see. By doing so, they help provide a diagnostic to see how much of the ‘fog’ remains at any time in the early universe.”

    ALMA Schematic diagram of the history of the Universe. The Universe is in a neutral state at 400 thousand years after the Big Bang, until light from the first generation of stars starts to ionise the hydrogen. After several hundred million years, the gas in the Universe is completely ionised. Credit. NAOJ

    The galaxy search using the ASU-designed filter and DECam is part of the ongoing “Lyman Alpha Galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization” project (LAGER). It is the largest uniformly selected sample that goes far enough back in the history of the universe to reach cosmic dawn.

    “The combination of large survey size and sensitivity of this survey enables us to study galaxies that are common but faint, as well as those that are bright but rare, at this early stage in the universe,” said Malhotra.

    Junxian Wang, a co-author on this study and the lead of the Chinese LAGER team, adds that “our findings in this survey imply that a large fraction of the first galaxies that ionized and illuminated the universe formed early, less than 800 million years after the Big Bang.”

    The next steps for the team will be to build on these results. They plan to continue to search for distant star-forming galaxies over a larger volume of the universe and to further investigate the nature of some of the first galaxies in the universe.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    ASU is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States.[11] Founded in 1885 as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe, the school underwent a series of changes in name and curriculum. In 1945 it was placed under control of the Arizona Board of Regents and was renamed Arizona State College.[12][13][14] A 1958 statewide ballot measure gave the university its present name.
    ASU is classified as a research university with very high research activity (RU/VH) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, one of 78 U.S. public universities with that designation. Since 2005 ASU has been ranked among the Top 50 research universities, public and private, in the U.S. based on research output, innovation, development, research expenditures, number of awarded patents and awarded research grant proposals. The Center for Measuring University Performance currently ranks ASU 31st among top U.S. public research universities.[15]

    ASU awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 16 colleges and schools on five locations: the original Tempe campus, the West campus in northwest Phoenix, the Polytechnic campus in eastern Mesa, the Downtown Phoenix campus and the Colleges at Lake Havasu City. ASU’s “Online campus” offers 41 undergraduate degrees, 37 graduate degrees and 14 graduate or undergraduate certificates, earning ASU a Top 10 rating for Best Online Programs.[16] ASU also offers international academic program partnerships in Mexico, Europe and China. ASU is accredited as a single institution by The Higher Learning Commission.

    ASU Tempe Campus
    ASU Tempe Campus

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