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Rosanella

'ElectroWeak' stars: they're out there!

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Some Physicists now believe of the existence of 'electroweak' stars. These are the ones that collapse into a black hole after reaching maturity (all nuclear fuel has been burned up).

So, we thought we already knew a lot about stellar evolution, right? Well, let's get back to the drawing board :D

Read further here, left-click once--->'Electroweak' stars predicted - physicsworld.com

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So, we thought we already knew a lot about stellar evolution, right?

We do :D

Well, let's get back to the drawing board

Not really - these things, if they exist (and it's very speculative stuff) are going to be very rare endpoints of certain high-mass stars.

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We do :D

Not really - these things, if they exist (and it's very speculative stuff) are going to be very rare endpoints of certain high-mass stars.

Does it mean that's not quite proven yet?

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Does it mean that's not quite proven yet?

What's not proven? Looking at the paper itself

[0912.0520] Electroweak stars: how nature may capitalize on the standard model's ultimate fuel

it's pretty speculative and I wouldn't consider it proven at all (note that the abstract ends with "This is long enough to represent a new stage in the evolution of a star if stellar evolution can take it there" - my bold - which means they don't know either). It's posted on hep-ph (High Energy Physics - Phenomenology) which is pretty theoretical stuff which is seldom much troubled by what the universe actually does :D

Stellar evolution as a general subject is pretty well understood and a paper like this isn't "back to the drawing board". But, saying that, the end results of high-mass star evolution are not yet well understood. If you look at something like the magnetar CXOJ164710.2-455216 it's clear that stars with initial masses around ~50-60x solar can (in at least some cases) shed virtually all their mass before or during a supernova and form a neutron star where you might conventionally expect a black hole. Dynamic masses have been determined for even more massive stars (approaching ~100x solar) and the end state of these stars is unclear - the traditional core-collapse supernova scenario may not apply and instead you get something called a pair-instability supernova, which although rare may have been observed (e.g. SN2006gy), and may totally disrupt the star without leaving any compact remnant. So there are certainly unanswered questions here.

Edited by Ben Ritchie

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