Scientists Utilized New Method to Examine the Massive Stars

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Massive stars are approximately 10 times bigger than the mass of the Sun. They are known as the precursors of many energetic and vivid phenomena in the Universe, such as altering their systems’ dynamics and enriching their surroundings in supernova explosions. They’re born far less often than their low-mass counterparts. 

Massive stars are also contributing to the development of galaxies and star clusters. To study the massive stars, scientists need detailed stellar evolution codes, such as the computer programs that measure both the interior structure and the stars’ evolution. 

Unfortunately, those codes are time-consuming and computationally expensive. For instance, it can some time (up to a few hours) to compute the development of only one star. However, a team of scientists led by the ARC Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) might have a solution. Here is what you need to know.

The Lives of Massive Stars Under Investigation

Recently, a team of scientists developed a stellar evolution code dubbed METod of Interpolation for Single Star Evolution (METISSE). Interpolation is not a new thing. It represents a technique for estimating an amount based on nearby values, like estimating a star’s size based on other stars’ dimensions with similar masses. Using this, METISSE can calculate a star’s features by utilizing some stellar models computed with detailed stellar evolution codes. 

METISSE can also evolve 10,000 stars in approximately three minutes, and it can use sets of stellar models to forecast the properties of stars.

METISSE In Action

The OzGrav researchers utilized METISSE with two sets of state-of-the-art stellar variants. The Modules compute one of them for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA), and another is calculated by the Bonn Evolutionary Code (BEC). 

“[…], we found that the masses of the stellar remnants […] can vary by up to 20 times the mass of our Sun,” stated Poojan Agrawal, an OzGrav researcher. 

This study’s findings will undoubtedly have a significant impact on future predictions in gravitational-wave astronomy. 

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