Atom Wave: Dude, Where Is My Star?

Atom Wave

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dude, Where Is My Star?

Stars are all about the world today, from the heroin heroes of Hollywood to the thermonuclear fireballs scattered across the sky. Some of them are dark, but enough about me. Astronomers are now on the trail of a new theoretical beast that would be dark (in visible light) and built of the elusive dark matter that haunts scientists today.

This new framework is the chief product of Paolo Gondolo of the University of Utah. His thesis is that with dark matter being highly abundant and dense in the early universe 13 billion years ago, it is conceivable that some of it collapsed into stars. These wouldn’t be stars in the classical definition but instead fuzzy clouds of dark matter and hydrogen being held up by matter-antimatter reactions.

Dark matter as you suspect is an unknown substance, but the current best guess is that it is composed of WIMPS or weakly interacting massive particles. This theory requires a subcategory of WIMPS known as neutralinos that would annihilate their opposing partner, releasing additional quarks and anti-quarks. These quarks would further annihilate each other outputting gamma rays, neutrinos, heat, and more antimatter. Aside from delivering a scorching burn to any souls unfortunate to be nearby, these stars would be titanic. It is estimated that one star could be anywhere from 4 to 2000 Astronomical Units across, plenty to consume the solar system or a respectable clump of the galaxy.

As with all stars, they would in time fade. It could be a few months or billions of years, but the inevitable result would be that their neutralinos would vanish leading to another implosion. This time the hydrogen would ignite and they would evolve into real stars. Probably blue supergiant stars, as they were fashionable in early time. These stars might even still persist to this day in cold molecular hydrogen clouds.


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