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Cosmic mysteries and the hydrogen 21-cm line: bridging the gap with lunar observations.

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Dhandha, J 


The hydrogen 21-cm signal is predicted to be the richest probe of the young Universe, including those eras known as the cosmic Dark Ages, the Cosmic Dawn (when the first star and black hole formed) and the Epoch of Reionization. This signal holds the key to deciphering processes that take place at the early stages of cosmic history. In this opinion piece, we discuss the potential scientific merit of lunar observations of the 21-cm signal and their advantages over more affordable terrestrial efforts. The Moon is a prime location for radio cosmology which will enable precision observations of the low-frequency radio sky. The uniqueness of such observations is that they will provide an unparalleled opportunity to test cosmology and the nature of dark matter using the Dark Ages 21-cm signal. No less enticing is the opportunity to obtain a much clearer picture of the Cosmic Dawn than that currently achievable from the ground, which will allow us to determine the properties of the first stars and black holes. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Astronomy from the Moon: the next decades (part 2)'.


Peer reviewed: True

Publication status: Published


first stars, nature of dark matter, radio astronomy

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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci

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The Royal Society
STFC (ST/V506606/1)