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Exploring the Cosmological Origins of the Cosmic near Infrared Background Fluctuations (CIBorigins)
Start date: Oct 1, 2014, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The emergence of the first stars and black holes in the early Universe ranks highly on Europe's list of research priorities and is driving the construction of powerful telescopes. While the first light objects will remain largely inaccessible to individual detections with future telescopes, they may be detectable via their recognizable contribution to the Cosmic near Infrared Background (CIB) fluctuations. This signal is now well established by current instruments and is emerging as a crucial tool to constrain the populations of the early Universe.The European Space Agency (ESA) recently selected the NASA-nominated science program, LIBRAE (Looking at Infrared Background Radiation Anisotropies with Euclid), to carry out a measurement of the CIB fluctuations with the upcoming Euclid space telescope. Scheduled to launch in 2018/19, the timing is ideal to enhance our understanding of the CIB fluctuations and make testable predictions for Euclid that will facilitate the interpretation of data. The project will enhance Europe's competitiveness in this field and transfer valuable knowledge from NASA/GSFC creating lasting collaborations between the United States and Europe.The proposed project has three major research objectives that each addresses the nature of the CIB from a different perspective. First, the fellow will investigate the origins of the CIB and its relation to the epoch of the first stars and black holes with robust implications for Euclid. Second, the fellow will construct mock survey maps to simulate the removal of foreground galaxies necessary to reveal the unresolved CIB signal. This will use state-of-the-art cosmological simulations at the host institution. Third, we will use an innovative method to isolate the CIB from early epochs using data from the Fermi gamma-ray telescope. This experiment is made possible with the known interaction of CIB photons with high energy gamma rays. The project will help establish European leadership in this field.
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