The Evolution Of Galaxies Through The Neutral Hydrogen Window, Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico) (1–3 February 2008):
AIP Conference Proceedings, 01 August 2008, Vol.1035(1), pp.87-89
Above redshift 6, the dominant source of neutral hydrogen in the Universe shifts from localized clumps in and around galaxies and filaments to a pervasive, diffuse component of the intergalactic medium (IGM). This transition tracks the global neutral fraction of hydrogen in the IGM and can be studied, in principle, through the redshifted 21 cm hyperfine transition line. During the last half of the reionization epoch, the mean (global) brightness temperature of the redshifted 21 cm emission is proportional to the neutral fraction, but at earlier times (10〈z〈25), the mean brightness temperature should probe the spin temperature of neutral hydrogen in the IGM. Measuring the (of order 10 mK) mean brightness temperature of the redshifted 21 cm line as a function of frequency (and hence redshift) would chart the early evolution of galaxies through the heating and ionizing of the IGM by their stellar populations. Experiments are already underway to accomplish this task or, at least, provide basic constraints on the evolution of the mean brightness temperature. We provide a brief overview of one of these projects, the Experiment to the Detect the Global EOR Signature (EDGES), and discuss prospects for future results.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
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