Astrophysics (index)


(time when the universe's ionized hydrogen atoms neutralized)

Recombination is a point in the history of the universe around Redshift (z) 1090, at about 378k years after the Big Bang, when electrons and protons paired up to form neutral Hydrogen (H) atoms. In this usage, the term is a misnomer because this "recombination" is actually the first time the electrons and protons were together.

This ended the Photon Epoch, when photons' mean free path (between electrons and protons) was short (thus space was opaque), and began the Dark Age, when the universe was transparent but there were not yet stars. The freed photons traveled freely, generally with no interaction with matter, and now constitute the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).

The term Recombination is also used for the pairing of ions and electrons in other circumstances, which happens in many astronomical phenomena, e.g., the interior of stars. The resulting Emission is called Free-Bound Emission.

(big bang,cosmology,hydrogen,ion,event,CMB)
/Lookback Years

Referenced by:
Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO)
Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)
Continuum Emission
Dark Age
Epoch of Reionization (EOR)
Sachs-Wolfe Effect (SWE)
21cm Line
Weak Lensing