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Beyond Earthly Skies

Frozen Stars

9 May 2014, 22:00 UTC
Frozen Stars
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“As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flamesNo light; but rather darkness visible”- Paradise Lost by John MiltonIn 1997, two astrophysicists, Fred Adams and Gregory Laughlin from the University of Michigan published a paper titled “A Dying Universe: The Long Term Fate and Evolution of Astrophysical Objects”. The paper outlines the long term fate of the universe based on what is currently known about the universe. In it, the authors investigate the evolution of planets, brown dwarfs, stars, black holes, galaxies and other astrophysical objects on timescales that vastly exceed the current age of the universe.One particularly interesting type of astrophysical object mentioned in the paper is the idea of “frozen” stars. In the paper, the concept is described as follow: “The forthcoming metallicity increases may also decrease the mass of the minimum mass main sequence star as a result of opacity effects. Other unexpected effects may also occur. For example, when the metallicity reaches several times the solar value, objects with 0.04 solar mass may quite possibly halt their cooling and contraction and land on the main sequence when thick ice clouds form in their atmospheres. Such “frozen stars” would have an effective temperature of around ~273 K, ...

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