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Sim of first star formation (100 solar typical)

  1. Aug 3, 2008 #1


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    The new computer simulation study suggests that early stars tended to be quite large, order of 100 solar masses, implying short life.
    The possibility is mentioned that the James Webb telescope may be able to see the life-end explosions of these stars.
    End-of-life for one of these babies could be a supernova or a GRB. Either way we might be able to detect some of the first instances of such things, according to the article.

    The NewSci article refers to articles in the current issue of Science magazine (see 1 August, pp 647-669 and 669-671)
    I'll try to find the preprint.
    author names are
    Volker Bromm (the first, more interpretive, article: cosmic rosetta stone)
    Naoki Yoshida and Lars Hernquist (the second, more technical, article)

    Great! here is the preprint of the more technicl of the two Science articles:
    Protostar Formation in the Early Universe
    Naoki Yoshida (Nagoya University), Kazuyuki Omukai (NAOJ), Lars Hernquist (CfA-Harvard)
    Science, August 1st issue. 13 pages, 3 figures. The SOM is found at ...
    (Submitted on 30 Jul 2008)

    "The nature of the first generation of stars in the Universe remains largely unknown. Observations imply the existence of massive primordial stars early in the history of the universe, and the standard theory for the growth of cosmic structure predicts that structures grow hierarchically through gravitational instability. We have developed an ab initio computer simulation of the formation of primordial stars that follows the relevant atomic and molecular processes in a primordial gas in an expanding universe. The results show that primeval density fluctuations left over from the Big Bang can drive the formation of a tiny protostar with a mass of just one percent that of the sun. The protostar is a seed for the subsequent formation of a massive primordial star."
    Volker Bromm (Texas) seems to be a recognized expert on early stars and early structure formation in general. Here are some past writings
    I don't see a preprint for this latest thing by him, interpreting or elaborating on the Yoshida simulation results.

    Got to say, the whole thing is extremely fascinating. Those initial very large stars exploding would have caused turbulence and shock in the surrounding gas, triggering the formation of more stars in waves of chain reaction. Terrific show and the prospect of being able one day to see it is exciting.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2008 #2
    That would be incredible if the James Webb could detect Pop III supernovae. I'd hope it could discern the relative derth of metals in the spectra to give further confirmation that the progenitors of such supernovae are Population III stars. Also, these supernovae should be very efficient in seeding the interstellar medium with metals since we see early galaxies with metalicities not so different from what we see in the local universe.

    I can't wait till the James Webb comes online!
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