The universe at z > 5: When and how did the “dark age” end?


National Academy of Sciences


This paper considers how the first subgalactic structures produced the UV radiation that ionized the intergalactic medium before z = 5 and the “feedback” effects of the UV radiation on structure formation. The first “pregalaxies” may eventually be detectable by their direct UV emission, with characteristic spectral features at Lyman α; high-z supernovae may also be detectable. Other probes of the intergalactic medium beyond z = 5, and of the epochs of reheating and reionization, are discussed, along with possible links between the diffusion of pregalactic metals and the origin of magnetic fields.

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