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A small dip in intensity, for example, should be apparent in CMB radio signals, but Earth’s crowded radio-wave environment has hampered astronomers’ search.
The researchers set up the EDGES antennae in the desert to eliminate as much radio noise as possible, selecting an isolated site at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Australia, run by that nation’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
According to the study, researchers found that ancient suns were active within 180 million years of the Big Bang.
Whenever I take it off, it crackles with static electricity.
Once the signal emerged in their data, the astronomers initiated a years-long process to check and recheck their findings against any known causes of instrumental errors and rule out potential sources of radio interference.
In all, EDGES applied dozens of verification tests to ensure that the signal was truly from space.
While confirming the signal, the EDGES data also raised new questions, as the signal was twice as intense as models had predicted.
The researchers suggest this means either the fog of hydrogen gas so soon after the Big Bang was colder than expected or that background radiation levels were significantly hotter than the photons of the CMB.
Models of the early universe predict such stars were massive, blue and short-lived.