How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form?

How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form?

by Abraham Loeb
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691145164

ISBN-13: 9780691145167

Pub. Date: 07/19/2010

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Though astrophysicists have developed a theoretical framework for understanding how the first stars and galaxies formed, only now are we able to begin testing those theories with actual observations of the very distant, early universe. We are entering a new and exciting era of discovery that will advance the frontiers of knowledge, and this book couldn't be more

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Overview

Though astrophysicists have developed a theoretical framework for understanding how the first stars and galaxies formed, only now are we able to begin testing those theories with actual observations of the very distant, early universe. We are entering a new and exciting era of discovery that will advance the frontiers of knowledge, and this book couldn't be more timely. It covers all the basic concepts in cosmology, drawing on insights from an astronomer who has pioneered much of this research over the past two decades.

Abraham Loeb starts from first principles, tracing the theoretical foundations of cosmology and carefully explaining the physics behind them. Topics include the gravitational growth of perturbations in an expanding universe, the abundance and properties of dark matter halos and galaxies, reionization, the observational methods used to detect the earliest galaxies and probe the diffuse gas between them--and much more.

Cosmology seeks to solve the fundamental mystery of our cosmic origins. This book offers a succinct and accessible primer at a time when breathtaking technological advances promise a wealth of new observational data on the first stars and galaxies.

  • Provides a concise introduction to cosmology
  • Covers all the basic concepts
  • Gives an overview of the gravitational growth of perturbations in an expanding universe
  • Explains the process of reionization
  • Describes the observational methods used to detect the earliest galaxies


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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691145167
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/19/2010
Series:
Princeton Frontiers in Physics Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
508,582
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(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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