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    Some First Stars Were Red: Detecting Signatures of Massive Population III Formation through Long-term Stochastic Color Variations

    Woods, Tyrone E. and Willott, Chris J. and Regan, John and Wise, John H. and Downes, Turlough P. and Norman, Michael L. and O’Shea, Brian W. (2021) Some First Stars Were Red: Detecting Signatures of Massive Population III Formation through Long-term Stochastic Color Variations. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 920 (1). L22. ISSN 2041-8205

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    Identifying stars formed in pristine environments (Population III) within the first billion years is vital to uncovering the earliest growth and chemical evolution of galaxies. Population III galaxies, however, are typically expected to be too faint and too few in number to be detectable by forthcoming instruments without extremely long integration times and/or extreme lensing. In an environment, however, where star formation is suppressed until a halo crosses the atomic-cooling limit (e.g., by a modest Lyman–Werner flux, high baryonic streaming velocities, and/or dynamical heating effects), primordial halos can form substantially more numerous and more massive stars. Some of these stars will in turn be accreting more rapidly than they can thermally relax at any given time. Using high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations of massive star formation in high-z halos, we find that such rapidly accreting stars produce prominent spectral features that would be detectable by the James Webb Space Telescope. The rapid-accretion episodes within the halo lead to stochastic reprocessing of 0%–20% of the total stellar emission into the rest-frame optical over long timescales, a unique signature which may allow deep observations to identify such objects out to z ∼ 10–13 using mid- and wide-band NIRCam colors alone.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: First Stars Were Red; Detecting Signatures; Massive Population; III Formation; Long-term Stochastic Color Variations;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > Hamilton Institute
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Theoretical Physics
    Item ID: 18412
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: John Regan
    Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2024 15:49
    Journal or Publication Title: The Astrophysical Journal Letters
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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