The anomalous 21-cm absorption at high redshifts

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The EDGES collaboration has reported the detection of a global 21-cm signal with a plateau centered at 76 MHz (i.e., redshift 17.2), with an amplitude of 500-500+200 mK. This anomalous measurement does not comport with standard cosmology, which can only accommodate an amplitude ≲ 230 mK. Nevertheless, the line profile’s redshift range (15 ≲ z≲ 20) suggests a possible link to Pop III star formation and an implied evolution out of the ‘dark ages.’ Given this tension with the standard model, we here examine whether the observed 21-cm signal is instead consistent with the results of recent modeling based on the alternative Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker cosmology known as the Rh= ct universe, showing that – in this model – the CMB radiation might have been rethermalized by dust ejected into the IGM by the first-generation stars at redshift z∼ 16. We find that the requirements for this process to have occurred would have self-consistently established an equilibrium spin temperature Ts≈ 3.4 K in the neutral hydrogen, via the irradiation of the IGM by deep penetrating X-rays emitted at the termination shocks of Pop III supernova remnants. Such a dust scenario has been strongly ruled out for the standard model, so the spin temperature (∼ 3.3 K) inferred from the 21-cm absorption feature appears to be much more consistent with the Rh= ct profile than that implied by Λ CDM, for which adiabatic cooling would have established a spin temperature Ts(z= 17.2) ∼ 6 K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230
JournalEuropean Physical Journal C
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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