By Lynne Schaufenbil

Please join us in Dugan 102 at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9 as Rigel Cappallo presents:

Searching for the First Stars – Traveling to the ends of the Earth to see the beginnings of the Universe.


There is a signature plastered across the entire sky that holds the key to understanding the formation of the very first stars in our universe. This signature is hidden within a cacophony of other signals; finding it is akin to detecting the flap of a hummingbird’s wings in the middle of a hurricane. But it is not impossible. The EDGES experiment was successful in detecting this signal for the first time in 2018, and is currently deploying instruments to remote locations across the globe in order to solidify and enhance this initial result. In 2022, I was part of two separate three-man teams that deployed the EDGES system in the outback of Western Australia and on Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island in the world, located far north in the Canadian Arctic. In this talk I will cover the science behind the signature we are searching for and the adventures involved in getting the instrument to such remote regions of Earth.


Rigel Cappallo is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Haystack Observatory located in Westford, MA. Previously he spent 12 years at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, getting his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees there, culminating in an additional year as a Postdoctoral Fellow. His research interests are wide-ranging, including X-ray, optical, and radio astronomy as well as cosmology and the nature of time.