Lighting the universe

Lighting the universe

Rethinking what the first stars were like

By Ron Cowen, 12:01 PM July 14, 2011

The Big Bang wasn’t all it has been cracked up to be. Sure, it created the universe. But after the heat of the primordial fireball faded, the cosmos plunged into darkness. The universe was cold and black — a sea of hydrogen and helium atoms mixed with a mysterious dark form of matter making its presence known only by its gravity. No stars.

It took a series of violent events — starting about 100 million years after the Big Bang—to end the cosmic Dark Ages. First, the evenly spread dark matte...

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