Early universe

The early Universe refers to the onset and first couple of billion years of the Universe. Research topics include but are not limited to the radiation leftover from the Big Bang (cosmic microwave background), the formation of the first stars, and high-redshift galaxies.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Reviews |

    The number of small satellites has grown hugely in the past decade, from tens of satellites per year in the mid-2010s to a projection of tens of thousands in orbit by the mid-2020s. This presents both problems and opportunities for observational astronomy. Small satellites offer complementary cost-effective capabilities to both ground-based astronomy and larger space missions. Compared with ground-based astronomy, these advantages are not just in the accessibility of wavelength ranges where the Earth’s atmosphere is opaque, but also in stable, high-precision photometry, long-term monitoring and improved areal coverage. Astronomy has a long history of new observational parameter spaces leading to major discoveries. Here we discuss the potential for small satellites to explore new parameter spaces in astrophysics, drawing on examples from current and proposed missions, and spanning a wide range of science goals from binary stars, exoplanets and Solar System science to the early Universe and fundamental physics.

    • Stephen Serjeant
    • , Martin Elvis
    •  & Giovanna Tinetti
    Nature Astronomy 4, 1031-1038
  • Research |

    The gas kinematics within a Lyman-α blob show clear evidence of infall, consistent with the release of gravitational accretion energy as cold streams radiate Lyman-α photons. These cold streams are apparently responsible for feeding central galaxies.

    • Yiping Ao
    • , Zheng Zheng
    •  & Axel Weiss
    Nature Astronomy 4, 670-674
  • Research
    | Open Access

    High redshift blazars are efficient probes of supermassive black holes and their environment in the early Universe. Here the authors show measurements of polarised emission and proper motion in the blazar J0906+6930 (redshift of 5.47) characterised by a nascent jet embedded in and interacting with a dense medium.

    • Tao An
    • , Prashanth Mohan
    •  & Zhenya Zheng

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    A starburst galaxy from the peak epoch of cosmic star-formation history is found to have a significant ionizing ultraviolet emission. This finding will help better constrain the process of reionization in the early Universe.

    • Anahita Alavi
    Nature Astronomy 4, 1130-1131
  • News & Views |

    After George Gamow first proposed the idea of a hot Big Bang in 1948, it took 15 years for the burgeoning cosmology community to recognize his contribution for what it was.

    • P. J. E. Peebles
    Nature Astronomy 3, 1055-1057
  • Editorial |

    As Nature turns 150, we look back on its close connection to the Nobel Prize in Physics and some of the most epoch-defining papers in astronomy.

  • News & Views |

    In 1951, three separate research groups established radio astronomy as a contender to the dominance of optical astronomy. Using the interstellar 21-cm line, they provided a method to look deeper into our own Galaxy and back in time to the birth of all galaxies.

    • Emma Chapman
    Nature Astronomy 3, 298-299