Updated: Nov 16
Get set for yet another cosmic adventure through time as the Spherex Telescope gears up for its launch in 2025!
Spherex will provide unprecedented views of the earliest stages of cosmic history. Known as the Spectro-Photometer, which will study the Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer, it's no ordinary telescope – it's a game-changer.
Gazing Back further and further as technology progresses.
Spherex will peer further back in time than any instrument before it. By detecting faint microwaves from the early universe, it will reveal what the cosmos looked like just after the Big Bang, during the first formation of stars and galaxies. It will also analyse the era of reionization, when radiation from the first celestial objects transformed cold neutral hydrogen gas into the ionized plasma that fills intergalactic space today.
Its state-of-the-art detectors will also uncover hidden facets of the universe by capturing infrared light from distant, early galaxies, as well as the infrared glow from newly forming stars obscured by dust. It will analyze interstellar ice and molecules, providing clues to the raw materials from which planetary systems coalesced. As our guide to the invisible universe, Spherex will illuminate mysteries about the origins of cosmic structure, star birth, and chemical enrichment over cosmic time.
Emerged from the Cooling of the Universe.
The reionization of hydrogen was only possible because of the rapid cooling of the universe after the Big Bang. As temperatures dropped, electrons and protons were able to combine into neutral hydrogen atoms. This allowed matter to begin clumping under gravity, leading to the formation of the first stars and galaxies.
Prior to reionization, the universe was filled with neutral hydrogen gas. But as the first celestial bodies ignited, their energetic radiation re-ionized this hydrogen by stripping electrons off the atoms. Spherex will map out this monumental transition in the state of matter throughout cosmic history. By seeing when and where reionization occurred, we will better understand how cosmic structure emerged from the cooling of the early universe to make this crucial transformation possible.
Governed by the laws of thermodynamics, as universe expanded and cooled after the Big Bang, the second law of thermodynamics drove it toward higher entropy and disorder on the largest scales. Clumps of matter were able to form and eventually light up as the first stars and galaxies because of small regions of reduced local entropy.
The overall increase in entropy allowed the universe to cool from an extremely hot initial state down to temperatures where matter could coalesce. Thermodynamic principles guided the emergence of complexity from simplicity in the early universe.
While other telescopes like Hubble and Webb can peer back in time, Spherex will be capable of observing the reionization era in greater detail, just beyond the reach of even the powerful Webb telescope.
More on this in the future. Space Ponder out.