In the April Scientific American author Michael Lemonick takes us back to the cosmic dark ages, the time before the first stars and galaxies formed, in his story “The First Stars in the Universe.” Astronomers still argue over exactly how the first objects in the universe formed and what they looked like, as direct observations of a time so long ago are hard to come by. One of the major goals of the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2018, is to observe the cosmic dawn. This NASA video explains how the first galaxies emerged, and how the Webb will try to catch glimpses of those first shards of light cutting through the darkness.
Michael Moyer is the editor in charge of physics and space coverage at Scientific American. Previously he spent eight years at Popular Science magazine, where he was the articles editor. He was awarded the 2005 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for his article "Journey to the 10th Dimension," and has appeared on CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox and the Discovery Channel. He studied physics at the University of California at Berkeley and at Columbia University.