How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form?

How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form?

by Abraham Loeb
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691145156

ISBN-13: 9780691145150

Pub. Date: 07/19/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

"Abraham Loeb, a leading figure in exploring the emergence of first galaxies and stars, introduces the astrophysics of the first billion years. With a strong emphasis on the underlying physics, this book will be an essential starting point for both observers and theorists who are interested in this rapidly evolving area of cosmology."—David Spergel, Princeton

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Overview

"Abraham Loeb, a leading figure in exploring the emergence of first galaxies and stars, introduces the astrophysics of the first billion years. With a strong emphasis on the underlying physics, this book will be an essential starting point for both observers and theorists who are interested in this rapidly evolving area of cosmology."—David Spergel, Princeton University

"A lucid, concise account of our current understanding of how light burst from darkness when the first stars and galaxies formed early in the expansion of the universe. Starting from basic physical principles, Loeb describes the physical processes that shaped the evolution of the universe, how they led to the formation of the first black holes, quasars, and gamma-ray bursts, and how upcoming observations will test these ideas."—Christopher F. McKee, University of California, Berkeley

"This is a lively, well-written book. Loeb is an excellent writer and talented instructor who is also internationally recognized in the research community. The topic at hand—the first stars and galaxies—is truly an exciting frontier for which Loeb and his collaborators have developed much of the theoretical framework, and for which the observational possibilities are rapidly developing. The timing of this book couldn't be better."—Richard S. Ellis, California Institute of Technology

"This is an extremely good book. Loeb guides readers through the early, formative history of the universe. He does not shy away from key calculations, but always tries to make things as simple as possible. His style is truly engaging, with a constant eye on the big picture. It makes for a thrilling read. Indeed, I found it difficult to put down."—Volker Bromm, University of Texas, Austin

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691145150
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/19/2010
Series:
Princeton Frontiers in Physics Series
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 Prologue: The Big Picture 1

1.1 In the Beginning 1

1.2 Observing the Story of Genesis 2

1.3 Practical Benefits from the Big Picture 5

2 Standard Cosmological Model 8

2.1 Cosmic Perspective 8

2.2 Past and Future of Our Universe 11

2.3 Gravitational Instability 15

2.4 Geometry of Space 16

2.5 Cosmic Archaeology 18

2.6 Milestones in Cosmic Evolution 23

2.7 Most Matter Is Dark 30

3 The First Gas Clouds 35

3.1 Growing the Seed Fluctuations 36

3.2 The Smallest Gas Condensations 43

3.3 Spherical Collapse and Halo Properties 45

3.4 Abundance of Dark Matter Halos 50

3.5 Cooling and Chemistry 59

3.6 Sheets, Filaments, and Only Then, Galaxies 61

4 The First Stars and Black Holes 64

4.1 Metal-Free Stars 65

4.2 Properties of the First Stars 74

4.3 The First Black Holes and Quasars 78

4.4 Gamma-Ray Bursts: The Brightest Explosions 89

5 The Reionization of Cosmic Hydrogen by the First Galaxies 95

5.1 Ionization Scars by the First Stars 95

5.2 Propagation of Ionization Fronts 98

5.3 Swiss Cheese Topology 111

6 Observing the First Galaxies 116

6.1 Theories and Observations 116

6.2 Completing Our Photo Album of the Universe 117

6.3 Cosmic Time Machine 119

6.4 The Hubble Deep Field and Its Follow-Ups 125

6.5 Observing the First Gamma-Ray Bursts 129

6.6 Future Telescopes 133

7 Imaging the Diffuse Fog of Cosmic Hydrogen 136

7.1 Hydrogen 136

7.2 The Lyman-αLine 137

7.3 The 21-cm Line 140

7.4 Observing Most of the Observable Volume 156

8 Epilogue: From Our Galaxy's Past to Its Future 159

8.1 End of Extragalactic Astronomy 159

8.2 Milky Way + Andromeda = Milkomeda 164

Appendix: Useful Numbers 171

Notes 173

Recommended Further Reading 181

Glossary 183

Index 189

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