THE FIRST STARS

Daniel J. Whalen

Abstract


Pop III stars are the key to the character of primeval galaxies, the first heavy elements, the onset of cosmological reionization, and the seeds of supermassive black holes. Unfortunately, in spite of their increasing sophistication, numerical models of Pop III star formation cannot yet predict the masses of the first stars. Because they also lie at the edge of the observable universe, individual Pop III stars will remain beyond the reach of observatories for decades to come, and so their properties are unknown. However, it will soon be possible to constrain their masses by direct detection of their supernovae, and by reconciling their nucleosynthetic yields to the chemical abundances measured in ancient metal-poor stars in the Galactic halo, some of which may bear the ashes of the first stars. Here, I review the state of the art in numerical simulations of primordial stars and attempts to directly and indirectly constrain their properties.

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague