An Illumination of the Dark Ages (AIDA) is a 1.5 million euro Starting Grant award (2015-2020), financed by the European Research Commission.
Our goal is to investigate the birth of the very first stars and galaxies in our Universe, occurring over 13 billion years ago. These galaxies are too faint to be seen directly, even with the most advanced telescopes. Yet their light heated and ionized virtually every atom in the Universe, in an important milestone called Cosmic Reionization. We are developing state-of-the-art simulations and statistically comparing them to observations.
In doing so, we will quantify what can we learn about the first galaxies from the timings and patterns of Cosmic Reionization. Ultimately, AIDA will help us understand the mysterious origins of the structures of our Universe.