In a first-of-its-kind phenomenon, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has potentially uncovered three candidates that could possibly be the so far fabled dark stars, scientists writing for the Proceedings of the National Academy Science journal said in a recently published research paper.

“We have found three candidates that match both criteria. Specifically, of the four spectroscopically confirmed Lyman break objects—JADES-GS-z13-0, JADES-GS-z12-0, JADES-GS-z11-0, and JADES-GS-z10-0 (27, 28)—all are consistent with possibly being point objects, and three have photometry that can be modelled by SMDS spectra (with the exception of JADES-GS-z10-0),” the scientists noted in the research paper.

What Are Dark Stars?

The idea of dark stars was first proposed by Freese, Gondolo and Spolyar in 2007 who theorised that the first stars to have ever existed in the universe were dark stars.

The researchers suggested that dark stars were sustained by the heat generated from the accretion of dark matter, specifically invisible weakly interacting massive particles. These hypothetical objects were proposed as a potential consequence of the interaction between dark matter and regular matter during the early universe.

Doctoral candidate studying dark matter at Chalmers University, Taylor Gray, explained to Business2Community that dark matter makes up a large amount of unknown mass, which could potentially be five times the amount of ordinary matter.

Simulations conducted of the early universe and galaxy formation suggested that dark matter needed to exist for the creation of the universe.

“Dark stars are made mostly of ordinary matter, such as hydrogen and helium, but are powered by dark matter. So, the dark matter would annihilate and then produce ordinary matter out of that. And through that process, you can get heating, and then that would heat the star and provide power to the star,” Gray added.

Why Does the Existence of Dark Stars Matter?

Gray told Business2Commuty that confirming the existence of dark stars could potentially help answer a number of questions about dark matter itself and about all the potential galaxies which could have been created very early in the universe.

“We have the standard model of cosmology which makes a lot of predictions. Based on that, there seem to be many large galaxies that were created early in the universe. So, if these dark stars exist, they could potentially help solve the problem.”

Gray added that another important aspect is that once the dark matter runs out from these dark stars it could potentially collapse and turn into a black hole, which could theoretically be supermassive.

Meanwhile, the existence of dark stars currently remains to be purely theoretical, scientists could be inching closer to making new discoveries.

Scientists Discover Three Candidates for Dark Stars

The JWST is a powerful tool, managing to capture images of outer space invisible to the naked eye. Last year, the space telescope had managed to capture the first-ever image of a planet outside our solar system and now, astrophysicists studying images taken by the JWST reported to have found three potential candidates that could be dark stars.

According to their report, the dark star candidates named JADES-GS-z11, z12 and z13-0, exhibit strong characteristics that could be described to be dark stars.

Images captured by the JWST

“Discovering a new type of star is pretty interesting all by itself, but discovering it’s dark matter that’s powering this — that would be huge,” one of the authors of the study, Katherine Freese said in an article published by the University of Texas at Austin.

Gray added that meanwhile the findings do not suggest these bodies are dark stars, science could be headed in the right direction.

“We do need higher quality spectroscopy on these objects to be able to tell for sure whether the findings are dark stars,” Gray concluded.

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