Welcome to the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant Project on the "Formation of the First Stars in the Universe: STARLIGHT"

The appearance of the first stars of the universe marked a primary transition in cosmic history. Their light ended the “dark ages”. They played a key role in the metal enrichment and the reionization of the Universe, thereby shaping the galaxies we see today.

Understanding high-redshift star formation is central to many areas of modern astrophysics. However, still little is known about the origin and observable characteristics of the first stellar populations.

Our Advanced Grant Research Project "Formation of the First Stars", funded by the European Research Council, intends to shed light on the physical processes that govern the formation of stars in the early Universe. The projects applies a concerted, multi-facetted approach that combines a range of complementary expertise and innovative techniques.

Using novel, high-resolution computer simulations we will

  1. identify the physical phenomena that led to the formation of the first and second generations of stars in a systematic and quantitative way,
  2. determine their mass distribution, which is the key parameter setting their lifetimes, lumi- nosities, and chemical yields,
  3. study the influence of the first stars on their surrounding environment, and
  4. by doing so learn more about the subsequent cosmic evolution.

We will set up a comprehensive theoretical and computational framework that enables us to make clear predictions and to compare our results with observational data from the high-redshift Universe as well as from the oldest stellar population in the Milky Way.

STARLIGHT is located at the Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics of the Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg (ZAH).

STARLIGHT related research started in Febr. 2014. The funding period is 60 months with a total funding of 2.5 mill. euros.

Principal Investigator is Prof. Dr. Ralf. S. Klessen.

Logo of our ERC "STARLIGHT", symbolising first stars illuminating the expanding universe about 400 milllion years after the Big Bang.
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