“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” –Marcus Aurelius
Let there be light! You’d think that would be enough: that you form stars in the Universe, you see those stars in the Universe, and that tells you about what’s out there. If only it were that simple.
In order to truly see the first stars, you need a lot more that just starlight: you need that light to be able to freely travel through space. And — as bad luck would have it — visible light, the kind of light we’ve built our telescopes to see, is opaque to neutral atoms. In other words, it’s not enough to simply have a Universe full of stars; you need a transparent Universe full of stars, otherwise they’ll be invisible to our eyes!