This visualization shows the hydrogen density surrounding a site of the formation of "Pop III" (i.e. first generation) stars. The conditions are in place for the first time where gravity can pull in enough gas which can cool and collapse in the center of a small galaxy at early times, roughly just one hundred million years after the Big Bang. These first stars, shown as small white features in the image, are key drivers for early cosmic evolution -- they produce the first heavy elements in the universe, which subsequently enrich the next generation, and signal the end of the cosmic dark ages and the beginning of cosmic reionization as they light up the cosmos.
Methods: Typhoon code; simulation from Volker Bromm