We are exploring the history of the universe during its Cosmic Dawn and the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) – the times just before and during the formation of the first stars. Our goal is to test models of structure formation and to monitor the early evolution of the dark matter and baryons that make up our universe. We do this by building and operating large low-frequency radio telescopes that can map the distribution of neutral hydrogen at high redshift. We are probing the redshift range z=30 to z=7, so the redshifted 1.4 GHz line of neutral hydrogen reaches us at 50-200 MHz.
The first generation instrument was the Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia, which we used to develop the techniques and to set first limits on the intensity of the radiation from hydrogen in the EoR. We are now part of the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) collaboration. HERA is a second generation radio array with a factor of ten more collecting area. It is under construction in the Karoo Highlands in South Africa, and we are taking data as we build out the array.
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