Science with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array

pp 327-330

Molecular signature of star formation at high redshifts

  • Serena VitiAffiliated withPhysics and Astronomy Department, University College London Email author 
  • , Chris J. LintottAffiliated withOxford Astrophysics, Denys Wilkinson Building

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In recent years there has been much debate, both observational and theoretical, about the nature of star formation at high redshift. In particular, there seems to be strong evidence of a greatly enhanced star formation rate early in the Universe’s evolution. Simulations investigating the nature of the first stars indicate that these were large, with masses in excess of 100 solar masses. By the use of a chemical model, we have simulated the molecular signature of massive star formation for a range of redshifts, using different input models of metallicity in the early Universe. We find that, as long as the number of massive stars exceeds that in the Milky Way by factor of at least 1000, then several ‘hot-core’ like molecules should have detectable emission. Although we predict that such signatures should already be partly detectable with current instruments (e.g. with the VLA), facilities such as ALMA will make this kind of observation possible at the highest redshifts.


Astrochemistry Cosmology: early universe Stars: formation