On the detection of supermassive primordial stars. II. Blue supergiants

Marco Surace, Erik Zackrisson, Daniel J. Whalen, Tilman Hartwig, S. C. O. Glover, Tyrone E. Woods, Alexander Heger

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Supermassive primordial stars in hot, atomically-cooling haloes at z ∼ 15 - 20 may have given birth to the first quasars in the universe. Most simulations of these rapidly accreting stars suggest that they are red, cool hypergiants, but more recent models indicate that some may have been bluer and hotter, with surface temperatures of 20,000 - 40,000 K. These stars have spectral features that are quite distinct from those of cooler stars and may have different detection limits in the near infrared (NIR) today. Here, we present spectra and AB magnitudes for hot, blue supermassive primordial stars calculated with the TLUSTY and CLOUDY codes. We find that photometric detections of these stars by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be limited to z ≲ 10 - 12, lower redshifts than those at which red stars can be found, because of quenching by their accretion envelopes. With moderate gravitational lensing, Euclid and the Wide-Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) could detect blue supermassive stars out to similar redshifts in wide-field surveys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3995-4003
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date15 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • astro-ph.GA
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/P000509/1
  • quasars: general
  • quasars: supermassive black holes
  • early univesre
  • dark ages, reionization, first stars
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift


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