NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has detected what were believed to be legendary “dark stars” that could solve one of the universe’s greatest mysteries.
A team of astronomers led by the University of Texas (UT) at Austin have identified three possible “dark stars” that formed about 320 million years after the Big Bang, making them the first stars seen by human eyes.
The image shows three fuzzy dots glowing in the blackness of space, but astronomers believe the tiny specs could help uncover elusive dark matter.
Dark stars could only exist if dark matter creates heat in the core, preventing the stars from collapsing and causing them to swell, which the team found in the JWST observations.
Although dark matter makes up about 85 percent of the universe, its nature has eluded scientists. The only evidence of its existence is the gravitational effect it seems to have on visible matter.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has detected three bright cosmic objects that could finally prove the existence of dark matter
However, if the recent findings are confirmed, the dark stars could reveal the nature of the non-luminous material.
Dark stars have been the stuff of fables in the scientific community since the UT team first proposed them in 2007.
In a new study published in PNASthese researchers have proudly announced that their hunch may be correct.
The team believes that dark stars were the only type that could have existed in the early universe, which would be made “almost entirely of hydrogen and helium from the Big Bang.”
But dark matter would heat cosmic objects instead of nuclear fusion like modern stars.
‘They are very bright diffuse puffy objects and grow to be very massive. In fact, they can grow up to ten million solar masses with up to ten billion solar luminosities,” the researchers wrote.
The three dark candidate stars (JADES-GS-z13-0, JADES-GS-z12-0, and JADES-GS-z11-0) were detected in galaxies during JWST observations in December 2022 by the Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES ).
Upon further analysis, the JADES team determined that the three stars formed between 320 and 400 million years after the Big Bang.
A team of astronomers led by the University of Texas (UT) at Austin have identified three possible ‘dark stars’ that formed some 320 million years after the Big Bang that the elusive material could fuel.
The three dark candidate stars (JADES-GS-z13-0, JADES-GS-z12-0, and JADES-GS-z11-0) were detected in galaxies during JWST observations in December 2022 by the Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES )
A recent study published last week suggests that the Big Bang occurred 26.7 billion years ago, but UT’s research builds on previous evidence that it occurred 13.7 billion years ago.
Katherine Freese, an astrophysicist at UT, said in a statement: “When we look at the James Webb data, there are two competing possibilities for these objects.
‘One is that they are galaxies containing millions of ordinary population III stars. The other is that they are dark stars. And believe it or not, one dark star has enough light to compete with a whole galaxy of stars.
While dark matter has yet to be proven, scientists believe it is made of a new type of elementary particle, including the smallest known building blocks of the universe.
The team believes the new particles are weakly interacting massive particles, which do not absorb or emit light and do not interact strongly with other particles.
“When they collide, these particles annihilate, depositing heat in the collapsing hydrogen clouds and turning them into glowing dark stars,” the UT researchers shared.
“The identification of supermassive dark stars would open up the possibility of learning about dark matter based on its observed properties.”
The idea of dark matter, initially known as ‘lost matter’, was formulated in 1933, following the discovery that the mass of all the stars in the Coma cluster of galaxies used about one percent of the mass needed to avoid for galaxies to escape from the cluster. gravitational pull.
Decades later, in the 1970s, American astronomers Vera Rubin and Kent Ford found anomalies in the orbits of stars in galaxies, NBC News reports.
The discovery sparked a theory among the scientific community that the anomalies were caused by masses of invisible “dark matter,” located in and around galaxies.