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Modeling the Formation of the First Stars and Their Effects on the Cosmological 21-cm Background


The first generations of stars in the Universe have never been observed, though they played an important role in the early evolution of galaxies. These stars likely began forming in isolation from pristine gas in small dark matter minihalos, and they set the stage for more traditional star formation in galaxies. Though they will be difficult to observe directly, we may detect their presence in the cosmological 21-cm background. For my thesis, I developed a semi-analytic model studying the formation and evolution of Population III star forming halos. I investigated the effects that this mode of star formation has on the 21-cm background by modeling both the average signal and its spatial fluctuations. Finally, I investigated the effects of warm dark matter on early Universe star formation. In general, I found that Pop III stars can have a large effect on the 21-cm background, and studying this signal will teach us much about structure formation and star formation in the early Universe.

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