Probing the first stars and black holes in the early Universe with the Dark Ages Radio Explorer (DARE)

Jack O. Burns, J. Lazio, S. Bale, Judd Bowman, R. Bradley, C. Carilli, S. Furlanetto, G. Harker, A. Loeb, J. Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

A concept for a new space-based cosmology mission called the Dark Ages Radio Explorer (DARE) is presented in this paper. DARE's science objectives include: (1) When did the first stars form? (2) When did the first accreting black holes form? (3) When did Reionization begin? (4) What surprises does the end of the Dark Ages hold (e.g.; Dark Matter decay)? DARE will use the highly-redshifted hyperfine 21-cm transition from neutral hydrogen to track the formation of the first luminous objects by their impact on the intergalactic medium during the end of the Dark Ages and during Cosmic Dawn (redshifts z = 11-35). It will measure the sky-averaged spin temperature of neutral hydrogen at the unexplored epoch 80-420 million years after the Big Bang, providing the first evidence of the earliest stars and galaxies to illuminate the cosmos and testing our models of galaxy formation. DARE's approach is to measure the expected spectral features in the sky-averaged, redshifted 21-cm signal over a radio bandpass of 40-120 MHz. DARE orbits the Moon for a mission lifetime of 3 years and takes data above the lunar farside, the only location in the inner solar system proven to be free of human-generated radio frequency interference and any significant ionosphere. The science instrument is composed of a low frequency radiometer, including electrically-short, tapered, bi-conical dipole antennas, a receiver, and a digital spectrometer. The smooth frequency response of the antennas and the differential spectral calibration approach using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique will be applied to detect the weak cosmic 21-cm signal in the presence of the intense solar system and Galactic foreground emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-450
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Keywords

  • Cosmology: first stars, dark ages, reionization
  • Instrumentation: detectors
  • Radio lines: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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    Burns, J. O., Lazio, J., Bale, S., Bowman, J., Bradley, R., Carilli, C., Furlanetto, S., Harker, G., Loeb, A., & Pritchard, J. (2012). Probing the first stars and black holes in the early Universe with the Dark Ages Radio Explorer (DARE). Advances in Space Research, 49(3), 433-450. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2011.10.014