NBIA Colloquium by Sune Toft – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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NBIA Colloquium by Sune Toft

Cosmic Dawn

Less than 500 million years after the Big Bang, the infant Universe rapidly transitioned from a dark, opaque soup of atomic hydrogen and helium to a transparent Universe sprinkled with bright clusters of stars which rapidly became recognizable as nascent galaxies.

This sudden production of diverse astronomical objects from very simple building blocks is as critical a moment in the history of our Universe as the Cambrian Explosion was for life on Earth. Astronomers have fittingly called this transition Cosmic Dawn, bringing the Cosmic Dark Ages to an end. Current measurements tell us the approximate time of Cosmic Dawn, but it lies tantalizingly just beyond the grasp of current telescopes. As a result, we still cannot answer some of the most fundamental questions in early-Universe astronomy. In particular, we do not know where, when, and most importantly how the first stars, galaxies, and black holes formed.

The Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN), is a new international DNRF center of excellence at the Niels Bohr Institute and DTU-Space, dedicated to understanding the Cosmic Dawn epoch, using a suite of powerful new telescopes that will become available in the coming decade.  I will present the center and some of the major projects we are planning to understand our cosmic origin.

All are welcome and, as usual, refreshments will be served in the NBIA lounge after the talk.