Det nye grundforskningscenter DAWN er et samarbejde mellem DTU Space og Niels Bohr Institutet på Københavns Universitet, det blev indviet officielt 22. juni 2018. (Foto: KU/NBI, DTU Space)

Astronomical research centre in place in Copenhagen

Monday 09 Jul 18


Kristian Pedersen
Director, Professor
DTU Space
+45 45 25 95 01


Hans Ulrik Nørgaard-Nielsen
Senior Scientist
DTU Space
+45 45 25 97 28

World-class Danish research

The Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN) is a so-called Center of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, which is tasked with delivering world-class research. The centre is a unique partnership between DTU Space at Technical University of Denmark and the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

Senior Scientist Hans Ulrik Nørgaard-Nielsen heads up the project at DTU Space.

Astronomer Sune Toft from the Niels Bohr Institute will be director of the new centre:
Tel.: +45 61 68 09 30

The new basic research centre DAWN is now officially open. The centre is a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and DTU.

The inauguration of the new basic research centre DAWN in Copenhagen will boost research in the early Universe. In the coming years, leading researchers will examine the cosmic dawn, which saw the birth of the Universe’s first galaxies, stars, and black holes.

Around 300 to 600 million years after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, a dark primordial soup transformed into a young and transparent universe with the formation of the first galaxies, stars, and black holes. We don’t know much about this early era in the history of our Universe.

The research into this period will be carried out by the Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN), a Centre of Excellence that—over the next six years—will receive funding by the Danish National Research Foundation to the tune of EUR 8.9 million (DKK 66 million). The centre is a collaboration between DTU Space and the Niels Bohr Institute at the UCPH, which draws on leading international experts within the field.

New telescopes are like time machines
The work will, e.g., be based on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is expected to be launched around 2021, as well as the recently completed Atacama Large (Sub-)Millimeter Array in Chile.

The two super telescopes will enable capturing light from the early Universe and thus look directly into the time when the first stars and galaxies were formed.

“Telescopes are like time machines that make it possible to look back in time, providing us with completely new knowledge,” says Sune Toft, Associate Professor and Astronomer at the Niels Bohr Institute, who is heading up DAWN.

Unique Danish access to data
Danish researchers at DTU Space and the Niels Bohr Institute have contributed to the construction of JWST and will therefore gain unique access to the first observations.

“DAWN will significantly contribute to increase our understanding of what happened just after our Universe was born, and the first stars and galaxies were formed,” says Professor Kristian Pedersen, Director of DTU Space. (In red tie).

“The opening of the new centre also marks the beginning of an extensive international collaboration, which can contribute to creating new standards across DTU and the University of Copenhagen.”
The centre’s international research team already counts 14 nationalities from three continents.

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