News of the WeekAstronomy

Star-Spangled Universe Dawned in Early Light

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 423-425
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5554.423a

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A few hundred million years after the big bang, the universe blazed with the most violent burst of star formation it has ever experienced. Since then, the rate of star formation has decreased, and the current activity is just a fizzle compared with the natal fireworks. That new theory, to be published in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal, contradicts earlier ones, which suggested that star formation gradually increased until a "baby boom" took place some 4 billion years after the big bang before dropping off again.