Simulations Illuminate Universe's First Twin Stars (w/ Video)

Jul 09, 2009
This computer-simulated image shows the formation of two high density regions (yellow) in the early universe, approximately 200 million years after the Big Bang. The cores are separated by about 800 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun, and are expected to evolve into a binary—or "twin"—star system. (Image courtesy of Ralf Kaehler, Matthew Turk and Tom Abel.)

(PhysOrg.com) -- The earliest stars in the universe formed not only as individuals, but sometimes also as twins, according to a paper published today in Science Express. By creating robust simulations of the early universe, astrophysicists Matthew Turk and Tom Abel of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, located at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and Brian O'Shea of Michigan State University have gained the most detailed understanding to date of the formation of the first stars.

"We used to think that these stars formed by themselves, but now we see from our that sometimes they have siblings," said Turk. "These stars provide the seeds of next generation star formation, so by understanding them we can better understand how other stars and formed."

To make this discovery, the researchers created an extremely detailed computer simulation of early star formation. Into this virtual they sprinkled primordial gas and dark matter as it existed soon after the Big Bang, data they obtained from observations of the cosmic microwave background. This mostly uniform radiation—a faint glow of spread across the entire sky—contains subtle variations that reflect the beginning of all structure in the universe.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Simulation courtesy of Ralf Kaehler, Matthew Turk and Tom Abel

Turk, Abel and O'Shea ran five data-intensive simulations, each of which covered a 400 quadrillion cubic mile volume of the universe and took about three weeks to run on 64 processors. The simulations focused on the first Population III stars: massive, hot stars thought to have formed a mere several hundred million years after the Big Bang.

As the researchers watched their simulated universe evolve, waves of gas and dark matter swirled through the hot, dense universe. As the universe cooled, gravity began to draw the matter together into clumps. In areas rich with matter, stars began to form. And, in one out of the researchers' five simulations, a single cloud of dust and formed into "twin" stars: one with a mass equivalent to about 10 suns, and one with a mass equivalent to about 6.3 suns. Both of them were still growing at the end of the calculation and will likely grow to many times that mass.

"We ran five of these calculations starting from the beginning of the universe, and to our surprise one of them was special," said Abel. "This opens a whole new realm of research possibilities. These stars could evolve into two black holes, which could have created gravitational waves we could detect with an instrument like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory and, if they fall into bigger black holes, for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. Or one of the stars could evolve into a black hole that could create gamma-ray bursts that we could detect with the Swift mission and the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope."

Turk added: "This will help us fine-tune our models for how structure in the universe formed and evolved. Understanding the very early helps us understand what we see today. It even helps explain how and when some of the atoms now on earth and in our bodies were first formed."

Provided by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (news : web)

Explore further: Infrared imaging technique operates at high temperatures

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dust and gas in the early universe

Jul 31, 2008

Researchers believe that our universe began with the Big Bang about 13 billion years ago, and that soon after that event, matter began to form as small dust grains and gases. How the first stars formed from ...

Oldest stars may shed light on dark matter

Sep 13, 2007

The universe’s earliest stars may hold clues to the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff that makes up most of the universe’s matter but doesn’t interact with light, cosmologists report.

Cosmologists 'see' the cosmic dawn

Feb 11, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The images, produced by scientists at Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology, show the "Cosmic Dawn" - the formation of the first big galaxies in the Universe.

Growing Supermassive Black Holes from Seeds

Jan 12, 2006

Astronomers announced today that they have found the first sample of intermediate-mass black holes in active galaxies - a discovery that will help in understanding the early universe. "These are local analogues ...

Hey, WIMPs: Beware of Dwarf

Apr 03, 2007

Stars may be bullies in their old age. White dwarfs—dense, collapsed stars in their final stage of life—could be skilled at swallowing and annihilating weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). These ...

Baby booms and birth control in space

Sep 25, 2007

Stars in galaxies are a bit similar to people: during the first phase of their existence they grow rapidly, after which a stellar birth control occurs in most galaxies. Thanks to new observations from Dutch ...

Recommended for you

Infrared imaging technique operates at high temperatures

Jan 23, 2015

From aerial surveillance to cancer detection, mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) radiation has a wide range of applications. And as the uses for high-sensitivity, high-resolution imaging continue to expand, MWIR sources are becoming ...

Football physics and the science of Deflategate

Jan 23, 2015

News reports say that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, showing about 2 pounds per square inch (psi) less ...

Physicists find a new way to slow the speed of light

Jan 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of physicists working at the University of Glasgow has found a way to slow the speed of light that does not involve running it through a medium such as glass or water. Instead, as they ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

denijane
5 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2009
How do you model something whose equations of state you don't know? I refer to dark matter in early universe.
JukriS
1 / 5 (1) Jul 12, 2009
Just remember. Entropy working also inside nucleus of atoms all a time.

Inside nucleus of atoms is only energy who exploding all a time!

Nucleus of atoms exploding/expanding all a time and emit/radiate waves of energy who have a nature of electrons and particles who also expanding/exploding and emit expanding waves of energy!

Electrons just move to the next exploding nucleus of atoms and get this exploding faster and faster. That the way exploding nucleus of atoms push themselfs far away same way what nucelus expanding all a time!

Electrons give some change of pressure for waves of energy who push out from exploding nucleus and then born new electrons etc...

http://www.onesim....com/296

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.