The First Galaxies in the Universe


This book provides a comprehensive, self-contained introduction to one of the most exciting frontiers in astrophysics today: the quest to understand how the oldest and most distant galaxies in our universe first formed. Until now, most research on this question has been theoretical, but the next few years will bring about a new generation of large telescopes that promise to supply a flood of data about the infant universe during its first billion years after the big bang. This book bridges the gap between theory ...

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This book provides a comprehensive, self-contained introduction to one of the most exciting frontiers in astrophysics today: the quest to understand how the oldest and most distant galaxies in our universe first formed. Until now, most research on this question has been theoretical, but the next few years will bring about a new generation of large telescopes that promise to supply a flood of data about the infant universe during its first billion years after the big bang. This book bridges the gap between theory and observation. It is an invaluable reference for students and researchers on early galaxies.

The First Galaxies in the Universe starts from basic physical principles before moving on to more advanced material. Topics include the gravitational growth of structure, the intergalactic medium, the formation and evolution of the first stars and black holes, feedback and galaxy evolution, reionization, 21-cm cosmology, and more.

  • Provides a comprehensive introduction to this exciting frontier in astrophysics
  • Begins from first principles
  • Covers advanced topics such as the first stars and 21-cm cosmology
  • Prepares students for research using the next generation of large telescopes
  • Discusses many open questions to be explored in the coming decade
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Loeb and Furlanetto, highly respected experts in the field, have written an up-to-date book that explores the early stages of the universe from the big bang through the formation of the first stars and galaxies."Choice

"[R]eaders who are genuinely into the subject will take pleasure in reading this book, even if they already know some of the analyses presented in the more basic chapters."—B. Ishak, Contemporary Physics

"Everybody who is interested in the topics such as formation and evolution of the first Galaxies, black Holes, Sun and Earth in the Universe will benefit from this book."—Gasanbek T. Arazov, Zentralblatt MATH

"[G]raduate students or senior undergraduates will find The First Galaxies in the Universe a thorough introduction to the topic. Interested professionals will find it a helpful entry point to the specialist literature on one of the most exciting frontiers in astrophysics."—Jason Tumlinson, Physics Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691144924
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Series: Princeton Series in Astrophysics
  • Pages: 520
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Abraham Loeb is Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science, chair of the Astronomy Department, and director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at Harvard University. Loeb is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form? (Princeton). Steven R. Furlanetto is associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi


Chapter 1 Introduction and Cosmological Background 3

  • 1.1 Preliminary Remarks 3
  • 1.2 Standard Cosmological Model 5
  • 1.3 Milestones in Cosmic Evolution 15
  • 1.4 Most Matter Is Dark 20

Chapter 2 Linear Growth of Cosmological Perturbations 25

  • 2.1 Growth of Linear Perturbations 25
  • 2.2 The Thermal History during the Dark Ages 35

Chapter 3 Nonlinear Structure and Halo Formation 41

  • 3.1 Spherical Collapse 41
  • 3.2 Cosmological Jeans Mass 45
  • 3.3 Halo Properties 51
  • 3.4 Abundance of Dark Matter Halos 56
  • 3.5 Halo Clustering in Linear Theory 65
  • 3.6 The Nonlinear Power Spectra of Dark Matter and Galaxies 68
  • 3.7 Numerical Simulations of Structure Formation 78

Chapter 4 The Intergalactic Medium 92

  • 4.1 The Cosmic Web 92
  • 4.2 Lyman-α Absorption in the Intergalactic Medium 95
  • 4.3 Theoretical Models of the Lyman-α Forest 100
  • 4.4 The Metagalactic Ionizing Background 114
  • 4.5 The Helium-Ionizing Background 120
  • 4.6 Metal-Line Systems 121
  • 4.7 The Lyman-α Forest at z > 5 125


Chapter 5 The First Stars 133

  • 5.1 From Virialized Halos to Protostars 136
  • 5.2 From Protostars to Stars 144
  • 5.3 The Second Generation of Stars: "Population III.2" 157
  • 5.4 Properties of the First Stars 163
  • 5.5 The End States of Population III Stars 168
  • 5.6 Gamma-Ray Bursts: The Brightest Explosions 170

Chapter 6 Stellar Feedback and Galaxy Formation 174

  • 6.1 The Ultraviolet Background and H2 Photodissociation 174
  • 6.2 The X-ray Background: Positive Feedback 184
  • 6.3 Radiative Feedback: Mechanical Effects 186
  • 6.4 Galactic Superwinds and Mechanical Feedback 192
  • 6.5 Metal Enrichment and the Transition to Population II Star Formation 201
  • 6.6 The First Galaxies 211

Chapter 7 Supermassive Black Holes 217

  • 7.1 Quasars and Black Holes: An Overview 217
  • 7.2 Basic Principles of Astrophysical Black Holes 222
  • 7.3 Accretion of Gas onto Black Holes 225
  • 7.4 The First Black Holes and Quasars 232
  • 7.5 Black Holes and Galaxies 237
  • 7.6 Black Hole Binaries 244
  • 7.7 Gravitational Waves from Black Hole Mergers 247

Chapter 8 Physics of Galaxy Evolution 251

  • 8.1 High-Redshift Galaxies 251
  • 8.2 Gas Accretion 253
  • 8.3 Halo Mergers 255
  • 8.4 Disk Formation 256
  • 8.5 Star Formation in Galaxies 258
  • 8.6 Black Hole Growth in Galaxies 263
  • 8.7 Feedback and Galaxy Evolution 264
  • 8.8 From Galaxy Model to Stellar Spectra 266
  • 8.9 Signatures of the Interstellar Medium 269
  • 8.10 Gravitational Lensing 275

Chapter 9 The Reionization of Intergalactic Hydrogen 283

  • 9.1 Propagation of Ionization Fronts 283
  • 9.2 Global Ionization History 288
  • 9.3 The Phases of Hydrogen Reionization 291
  • 9.4 The Morphology of Reionization 293
  • 9.5 Recombinations inside Ionized Regions 302
  • 9.6 Simulations of Reionization 308
  • 9.7 Statistical Properties of the Ionization Field 315
  • 9.8 Reionization by Quasars and Other Exotic Sources 319
  • 9.9 Feedback from Reionization: Photoheating 326


Chapter 10 Surveys of High-Redshift Galaxies 337

  • 10.1 Telescopes for Observing High-Redshift Galaxies 337
  • 10.2 Methods for Identifying High-Redshift Galaxies 340
  • 10.3 Luminosity and Mass Functions 350
  • 10.4 The Statistics of Galaxy Surveys 357

Chapter 11 The Lyman-α Line as a Probe of the Early Universe 367

  • 11.1 Lyman-α Emission from Galaxies 367
  • 11.2 The Gunn-Peterson Trough 375
  • 11.3 IGM Scattering in the Blue Wing of the Lyman-α Line 376
  • 11.4 The Red Damping Wing 382
  • 11.5 The Lyman-α Forest as a Probe of the Reionization Topology 388
  • 11.6 Lyman-α halos around Distant Sources 390
  • 11.7 Lyman-α Emitters during the Reionization Era 396

Chapter 12 The 21-cm Line 408

  • 12.1 Radiative Transfer of the 21-cm Line 410
  • 12.2 The Spin Temperature 412
  • 12.3 The Brightness Temperature of the Spin-Flip Background 420
  • 12.4 The Monopole of the Brightness Temperature 428
  • 12.5 Statistical Fluctuations in the Spin-Flip Background 432
  • 12.6 Spin-Flip Fluctuations during the Cosmic Dawn 439
  • 12.7 Mapping the Spin-Flip Background 446

Chapter 13 Other Probes of the First Galaxies 459

  • 13.1 Secondary Cosmic Microwave Background Anisotropies from the Cosmic Dawn 459
  • 13.2 Diffuse Backgrounds from the Cosmic Dawn 470
  • 13.3 The Cross-Correlation of Different Probes 484
  • 13.4 The Fossil Record of the Local Group 488

Appendix A Useful Numbers 495
Appendix B Cosmological Parameters 497
Notes 499
Further Reading 509
Index 513

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