The first phase of stellar evolution in the history of the Universe may be Dark Stars (DS), powered by dark matter heating rather than by nuclear fusion. Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, which may be their own antipartners, collect inside the first stars and annihilate to produce a heat source that can power the stars. A new stellar phase results, a Dark Star, powered by dark matter annihilation as long as there is dark matter fuel, with lifetimes from millions to billions of years. Dark stars are very bright diffuse puffy objects during the DS phase, and grow to be very massive. In fact, we have found they can to grow to 10^5-10^7 solar masses with luminosities 10^9-10^11 solar luminosities. Such objects will be observable with James Webb Space Telescope (the sequel to HST). Once the dark matter fuel is exhausted, the DS becomes a heavy main sequence star; these stars eventually collapse to form massive black holes that may provide seeds for supermassive black holes observed at early times as well as in galaxies today.


Talk Number PIRSA:17050095
Speaker Profile Katherine Freese