Astronomers glimpse cosmic dawn, when the stars switched on

For the first time, astronomers have glimpsed the dawn of the universe 13.6 billion years ago when the earliest stars were just beginning to glow. And if that’s not enough, they may have detected mysterious dark matter at work, too.

The glimpse consisted of a faint radio signal from deep space, picked up by an antenna that in certain ways can go back much farther in time and distance than the celebrated Hubble Space Telescope.

Team leader Judd Bowman of Arizona State University says the signal came from the very first objects in the universe as it was emerging out of darkness 180 million years after the Big Bang.

The signal had certain peculiarities that led scientists to theorize that they were seeing the effects of dark matter.

The study is in Wednesday’s journal Nature.

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