James Webb Telescope Catches Glimpse of Possible First-Ever Dark Stars

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Stars beam brightly out of the darkness of space thanks to fusion, atoms melding together and releasing energy. But what if there’s another way to power a star?

A team of three astrophysicists — Katherine Freese at the University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with Cosmin Ilie and Jillian Paulin ’23 at Colgate University — analyzed images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and found three bright objects that might be “dark stars,” theoretical objects much bigger and brighter than our sun, powered by particles of dark matter annihilating. If confirmed, dark stars could reveal the nature of dark matter, one of the deepest unsolved problems in all of physics. Read more