A new study by a team of physicists claims dark matter may have played a big role in the formation of the first stars in our universe.
As the article, set to be published in an upcoming edition of Physical Review Letters begins, "The first stars in the universe mark the end of the cosmic dark ages." These earliest stars began life inside dark matter halos that consisted of approximately 85 percent dark matter and 15 percent baryonic matter, the latter mostly in the form of hydrogen and helium. The baryonic matter would cool and coalesce into a small protostar at the center of the dark matter halo. The authors ask the question: what role did the surrounding dark matter play in the formation of these early stars?
In order to model the dark matter stars, the physicists needed to decide on a dark matter particle model. Since this is still a wide-open issue in physics, they used a particle known as the neutralino, the supersymmetric counterpart of the W and Z bosons. The neutralino has the correct mass—in the GeV to TeV range—which can account for the proper amount of dark matter believed to be in the universe today.