Journal Article

Dark stars at the Galactic Centre – the main sequence

Pat Scott, Malcolm Fairbairn and Joakim Edsjö

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 394, issue 1, pages 82-104
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Dark stars at the Galactic Centre – the main sequence

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In regions of very high dark matter density such as the Galactic Centre, the capture and annihilation of WIMP dark matter by stars has the potential to significantly alter their evolution. We describe the dark stellar evolution code DarkStars, and present a series of detailed grids of WIMP-influenced stellar models for main-sequence stars. We describe the changes in stellar structure and main-sequence evolution which occur as a function of the rate of energy injection by WIMPs, for masses of 0.3–2.0 M and metallicities Z= 0.0003–0.02. We show what rates of energy injection can be obtained using realistic orbital parameters for stars at the Galactic Centre, including detailed consideration of the velocity and density profiles of dark matter. Capture and annihilation rates are strongly boosted when stars follow elliptical rather than circular orbits. If there is a spike of dark matter induced by the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Centre, single solar mass stars following orbits with periods as long as 50 yr and eccentricities as low as 0.9 could be significantly affected. Binary systems with similar periods about the Galactic Centre could be affected on even less eccentric orbits. The most striking observational effect of this scenario would be the existence of a binary consisting of a low-mass protostar and a higher mass evolved star. The observation of low-mass stars and/or binaries on such orbits would either provide a detection of WIMP dark matter, or place stringent limits on the combination of the WIMP mass, spin-dependent nuclear-scattering cross-section, halo density and velocity distribution near the Galactic Centre. In some cases, the derived limits on the WIMP mass and spin-dependent nuclear-scattering cross-section would be of comparable sensitivity to current direct-detection experiments.

Keywords: elementary particles; stars: evolution; stars: fundamental parameters; stars: interiors; Galaxy: centre; dark matter

Journal Article.  17376 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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