Testing gravity using dwarf stars

Jeremy Sakstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Generic scalar-tensor theories of gravity predict deviations from Newtonian physics inside astrophysical bodies. In this paper, we point out that low mass stellar objects, red and brown dwarf stars, are excellent probes of these theories. We calculate two important and potentially observable quantities: the radius of brown dwarfs and the minimum mass for hydrogen burning in red dwarfs. The brown dwarf radius can differ significantly from the general relativity prediction, and upcoming surveys that probe the mass-radius relation for stars with masses <O(0.1M) have the potential to place new constraints. The minimum mass for hydrogen burning can be larger than several presently observed red dwarf stars. This places a new and extremely stringent constraint on the parameters that appear in the effective field theory of dark energy and rules out several well-studied dark energy models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124045
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2015


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