First stars in the Universe could have a mass 100 thousand times that of the sun

In the early Universe, supermassive stars could form, which mass was 100 thousand times the mass of the Sun. This is evidenced by the results of a study published by a team of Australian researchers.

Visualization of the Universe in the era of reionization. Source: Paul Geil & Simon Mutch/The University of Melbourne

For many years, astronomers had been trying to understand what the first luminaries that formed immediately after the Big Bang were like. To get an answer to this question, they resorted to computer modeling. Its purpose was to study the mechanism of cold accretion, which was considered the key to the formation of the first generation of luminaries in the Universe. The fact is that for the birth of a giant star, it is required that a very large amount of material be collected in a very small volume. At the same time, the sealing process should not be accompanied by an increase in temperature, otherwise it will prevent its further collapse.

Previous studies had shown that cold, dense pockets of gas could exist in young galaxies. However, then scientists were unable to simulate their further evolution.

In the course of a new study, a team of Australian astronomers managed to solve the mystery of this question. Their computer simulations showed that large streams of cold dense matter could hit the accretion disk in the center of giant gas clusters. When this happens, a shock wave is formed. It quickly destabilizes the gas and causes its instant collapse. The simulation also showed that in some cases such clusters could have a mass 100 thousand times greater than the mass of the Sun. This means that, at least in theory, supergiant stars with similar characteristics could have existed in the early Universe.

At the same time, the researchers themselves emphasize that at the moment we are talking exclusively about the results of modeling. They hope that future observations made with the James Webb Telescope will help determine whether supergiant stars really exist in the early Universe.

According to

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