Planet Talk

Dark Stars

As predicted, the James Webb Space Telescope has continued to prove itself as a telescope to be reckoned with. It continues to make discoveries that shock astronomers and advance our knowledge of space and matter.

Recently, the magnificent JWST has spotted objects that may be a new type of star, one that is powered by dark matter. These stars, known as “dark stars” are still very much hypothetical and unconfirmed. There are three candidates to be dark stars, and if verified, would be revolutionary for the study of astronomy with a multitude of effects. As quoted in an article from, “they could offer a glimpse of star formation in the early universe, hint at the nature of dark matter and possibly explain the origins of supermassive black holes.”

A dark star would be the first type of star to exist in the universe. These stars would have high concentrations of neutralino dark matter and react with dark-matter particles. Dark stars are hypothesized to have formed from clouds of hydrogen and helium that draw in dark matter. The heat from collisions would prevent the cloud from condensing into hot cores, like other stars found in our universe. Dark stars are predicted to be larger than most others, even growing to 10x the size of Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

Although these stars have not been proven to exist, JWST is already making large strides in the right direction due to the brightness and size of dark stars.

Scientists have computed how much light a hypothetical dark star might produce at different wavelengths and compared these spectra to images collected by the James Webb telescope. From this data, three objects have been observed to be potential dark stars, consistent with simulated patterns. The candidates, JADES-GS-z13-0, JADES-GS-z12-0, and JADES-GS-z11-0 are thoroughly outlined in the following study:

Despite these potential observations, many scientists remain skeptics. Sandro Tacchella, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge, claims that known star types could also create the observed light. Similarly, Brant Robertson, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, states that the simulated patterns must fit more detailed spectra to identify the objects as dark stars.

More experiments from the JWST could confirm the existence of a dark matter particle and help explain the formation of supermassive black holes.


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