Immortal Stars at the Milky Way’s Center Might Have Endless Energy

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A recent study suggests that some stars near the Milky Way’s center could be “immortal,” powered by dark matter.

These stars appear much younger than expected, and researchers believe they might have found a limitless energy source.

Dark Matter: The Secret Fuel?

Using computer simulations, scientists discovered that dark matter particles might be captured by these stars’ gravity.

Inside the star, these particles could collide and transform into ordinary particles, releasing a lot of energy.

This process could keep the stars stable and possibly make them immortal, even after they run out of their usual fuel, hydrogen.

Isabelle John, a doctoral candidate in astroparticle physics at Stockholm University, explained that stars usually burn hydrogen in nuclear fusion.

This balances the outward pressure from the fusion with the inward pressure from gravity, keeping the stars stable.

However, stars near the Milky Way’s center seem much younger than expected.

The researchers wondered if dark matter could be the answer.

How It Works

The study shows that if stars can collect enough dark matter, this dark matter could provide the energy needed to keep the stars stable.

Unlike hydrogen, which eventually runs out, dark matter can be continuously collected by the stars.

“Our simulations show that dark matter annihilation inside the stars can provide similar outward pressure, making the stars stable,” John said.

“This means stars could use dark matter as fuel instead of hydrogen.”

Mysterious Stars

The properties of stars near the Milky Way’s center defy current theories.

These stars, known as the S-cluster stars, seem too young and too heavy for their location.

They also show unusual properties not found in other stars.

The additional energy from dark matter could explain these strange characteristics, making the stars burn hydrogen more slowly and appear younger than they are.

John and her colleagues, Tim Linden from Stockholm University and Rebecca K. Leane from Stanford University, suggested that dark matter annihilation could be the extra energy source.

This theory fits well with the high concentration of dark matter believed to exist at the galaxy’s center.

Testing the Theory

To test their idea, the researchers simulated the life cycle of a star surrounded by a dense cloud of dark matter.

They assumed dark matter consists of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).

Although these particles haven’t been found in experiments yet, the simulation showed that under certain conditions, dark matter could explain the observed properties of the S-cluster stars.

What’s Next?

To confirm their theory, more stars need to be discovered near the galactic center.

Additionally, precise measurements of known stars are necessary to compare observations with theoretical predictions.

Future observations with advanced telescopes like the Very Large Telescope in Chile or the Keck Observatory in Hawaii could provide more information.

“More precise observations of the S-cluster stars will give us more details about these stars and the processes happening in them,” John said.

“This will help us see if our simulations match the observations or if other explanations are needed.”

In summary, the discovery of potentially immortal stars near the Milky Way’s center offers an exciting glimpse into the mysterious workings of our galaxy and the possible role of dark matter as an endless energy source.


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