Vol 20, No 7

Alternative kind of hydrogen atoms as a possible explanation for the latest puzzling observation of the 21 cm radio line from the early Universe

Eugene Oks


Abstract There is a puzzling astrophysical result concerning the latest observation of the absorption profile of the redshifted radio line 21 cm from the early Universe (as described in Bowman et al.). The amplitude of the profile was more than a factor of two greater than the largest predictions. This could mean that the primordial hydrogen gas was much cooler than expected. Some explanations in the literature suggested a possible cooling of baryons either by unspecified dark matter particles or by some exotic dark matter particles with a charge a million times smaller than the electron charge. Other explanations required an additional radio background. In the present paper, we entertain a possible different explanation for the above puzzling observational result: the explanation is based on the alternative kind of hydrogen atoms (AKHA), whose existence was previously demonstrated theoretically, as well as by the analysis of atomic experiments. Namely, the AKHA are expected to decouple from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) much earlier (in the course of the Universe expansion) than usual hydrogen atoms, so that the AKHA temperature is significantly lower than that of usual hydrogen atoms. This seems to lower the excitation (spin) temperature of the hyperfine doublet (responsible for the 21 cm line) sufficiently enough for explaining the above puzzling observational result. This possible explanation appears to be more specific and natural than the previous possible explanations. Further observational studies of the redshifted 21 cm radio line from the early Universe could help to verify which explanation is the most relevant.


Keywords Cosmology: Early Universe — explanation of the puzzle of 21 cm radio line — Galaxies: intergalactic medium — Cosmology: observations — Cosmology: theory

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