Hydrogen burning in low mass stars constrains scalar-tensor theories of gravity

Jeremy Sakstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The most general scalar-tensor theories of gravity predict a weakening of the gravitational force inside astrophysical bodies. There is a minimum mass for hydrogen burning in stars that is set by the interplay of plasma physics and the theory of gravity. We calculate this for alternative theories of gravity and find that it is always significantly larger than the general relativity prediction. The observation of several low mass red dwarf stars therefore rules out a large class of scalar-tensor gravity theories and places strong constraints on the cosmological parameters appearing in the effective field theory of dark energy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number201101
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2015


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