Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Did dark matter create the first stars?



'Dark matter may have played a major role in creating stars at the very beginnings of the universe. If that is the case, however, the dark matter must consist of particles called "sterile neutrinos". Peter Biermann of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, and Alexander Kusenko, of the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown that when sterile neutrinos decay, it speeds up the creation of molecular hydrogen. This process could have helped light up the first stars only some 20 to 100 million years after the big bang. This first generation of stars then ionised the gas surrounding them, some 150 to 400 million years after the big bang. All of this provides a simple explanation to some rather puzzling observations concerning dark matter, neutron stars, and antimatter...' More

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