July 20, 2024
The seeds of supermassive black holes?
he early universe was a very different place than it is now. But it may have been the perfect environment for a strange class of giant, puffy stars that used dark matter as fuel.
The early universe was a very different place than it is now. But it may have been the perfect environment for a strange class of giant, puffy stars that used dark matter as fuel.

Powered by dark matter, dark stars are hypothetical objects that may have inhabited the early universe. If they existed, these mysterious beasts would not only have been the first stars to form in the cosmos, they also might explain how supermassive black holes got their start.

Fueled by dark matter

Normal stars all power themselves in the same way: nuclear fusion. Stars are so massive that they’re constantly on the verge of collapsing in on themselves. But as gravity squeezes a star, it generates so much heat in the star’s core that it smooshes the atoms together, releasing energy. This energy provides just enough outward pressure to precisely counterbalance a star’s gravitational collapse.

But for dark stars, the story’s a little different

Theories suggest that dark stars would be mostly made from the same material as normal stars — namely, hydrogen and helium. But because these hypothetical dark stars would have formed in the early universe, when the cosmos was a lot denser, they also likely contain a small but significant amount of dark matter in the form of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) — a leading dark matter candidate.

These WIMPs are thought to serve as their own antimatter particles, they can annihilate with one another, producing pure energy. Within a dark star, these extremely powerful WIMP annihilations could offer enough outward pressure to prevent the star’s collapse without the need for core fusion.

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See Also:

(1) From dark day to giant leap, how Avro Arrow engineers joined NASA to help win the race to the moon (video)

(2) Space exploration 50 years after Apollo 11

(3) You Must Not Trust Experiments That Claim The Existence Of Parallel Universes

(4) Explore the MOON in incredible 3D map to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

(5) New Hubble constant measurement adds to mystery of universe’s expansion rate

(6) A material way to make Mars habitable

(7) How (Relatively) Simple Symmetries Underlie Our Expanding Universe

(8) Alternative theory of gravity makes a nearly testable prediction

(9) Einstein’s ‘spooky’ phenomenon of Quantum entanglement captured on camera in world first

(10) Why Do Gravitational Waves Travel Exactly At The Speed Of Light?

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