Light From First Stars Detected in Cosmic "Fog"
Discovery puts us closer to illuminating the early universe's pitch-black period.
(Related: "Most Distant Object Found; Light Pierced 'Dark Age' Fog.")
Based on data gleaned from jets of high-energy radiation emitted long ago, scientists say they now know that stars were present at least as early as 500 million years after the big bang, which gave birth to the universe some 13.75 billion years ago.
The findings also put an upper and lower limit on the amount of light present at that 500-million-year mark, and consequently the size and number of early stars. The stellar population, the researchers confirmed, was quite small.
"We haven't been able to establish yet when the first stars began to shine, but we have peeked into the epoch of our universe when it happened," said study co-author