- The CMB itself can be thought of as the 'afterglow' of the Big Bang
- It spreads across the cosmos some 380,000 years after the Big Bang
- This is when the conditions cool to make neutral hydrogen atoms
- The period before the first stars is often called the 'Dark Ages'
- When the first stars ignite, they 'fry' the neutral gas around them
- These giants also forge the first heavy elements in big explosions
- 'First Light', or 'Cosmic Renaissance', is a key epoch in history