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The First Galaxies in the Universe$
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Abraham Loeb and Steven R. Furlanetto

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144917

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144917.001.0001

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Linear Growth of Cosmological Perturbations

Linear Growth of Cosmological Perturbations

(p.25) Chapter Two Linear Growth of Cosmological Perturbations
The First Galaxies in the Universe

Abraham Loeb

Steven R. Furlanetto

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows that, after cosmological recombination, the Universe had entered the “dark ages,” during which the relic cosmic microwave background (CMB) light from the Big Bang gradually faded away. During this “pregnancy” period (which lasted hundreds of millions of years), the seeds of small density fluctuations planted by inflation in the matter distribution grew until they eventually collapsed to make the first galaxies. In addition to the density evolution, the second key “initial condition” for galaxy formation is the temperature of the hydrogen and helium gas that had likewise collapsed into the first galaxies. Here, the chapter describes the first stages of these processes and introduces the methods conventionally used to describe the fluctuations. It follows the evolution of structure in the linear regime, when the perturbations are small.

Keywords:   linear growth, cosmological perturbations, dark ages, Big Bang, small density fluctuations, density evolution, galaxy formation, hydrogen, helium

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