The Epoch of Reionization

  • Saleem ZaroubiEmail author
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 396)


The Universe’s dark ages end with the formation of the first generation of galaxies. These objects start emitting ultraviolet radiation that carves out ionized regions around them. After a sufficient number of ionizing sources have formed, the ionized fraction of the gas in the Universe rapidly increases until hydrogen becomes fully ionized. This period, during which the cosmic gas went from neutral to ionized, is known as the Universe’s Epoch of Reionization. The Epoch of Reionization is related to many fundamental questions in cosmology, such as properties of the first galaxies, physics of (mini-)quasars, formation of very metal-poor stars and a slew of other important research topics in astrophysics. Hence uncovering it will have far reaching implications on the study of structure formation in the early Universe. This chapter reviews the current observational evidence for the occurrence of this epoch, its key theoretical aspects and main characteristics, and finally the various observational probes that promise to uncover it. A special emphasis is put on the redshifted 21 cm probe, the various experiments that are currently being either built or designed, and what we can learn from them about the Epoch of Reionization.


Optical Depth Brightness Temperature Cosmic Microwave Background High Redshift Radio Frequency Interference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank Geraint Harker, Stephen Rafter and Rajat M. Thomas for careful reading of the manuscript. Many of the results shown here have been obtained in collaboration with the members of the LOFAR EoR project whose contribution I would like to acknowledge. I would like also thank the editors of this book for giving me the opportunity to write this chapter.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kapteyn Astronomical InstituteGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Physics DepartmentThe Technion>HaifaIsrael

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