Iron star

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In astronomy, an iron star is a hypothetical type of compact star that could occur in the universe in the extremely far future, after perhaps 101500 years.

The premise behind iron stars states that cold fusion occurring via quantum tunnelling would cause the light nuclei in ordinary matter to fuse into iron-56 nuclei. Fission and alpha-particle emission would then make heavy nuclei decay into iron, converting stellar-mass objects to cold spheres of iron.[1] The formation of these stars is only a possibility if protons do not decay. Though the surface of a neutron star may be iron according to some predictions, it is distinct from an iron star.

By the end of 101026 to 101076 years, iron stars would have collapsed into neutron stars and black holes.[1]

Unrelatedly, the term "iron star" is also used for blue supergiants which have a forest of "forbidden" FeII lines in their spectra. They are potentially quiescent hot luminous blue variables. Eta Carinae has been described as a prototypical example.[2][3]

In popular culture

  • In the episode: Civilizations at the End of Time: Iron Stars, Isaac Arthur discusses about the possiblilites of advanced artificial civilizations living around iron stars, and beyond the last viable sources of energy.

See also


  1. ^ a b Dyson, Freeman J. (1979). "Time without end: Physics and biology in an open universe". Reviews of Modern Physics. 51 (3): 447–460. Bibcode:1979RvMP...51..447D. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.51.447.
  2. ^ Walborn, Nolan R.; Fitzpatrick, Edward L. (2000). "The OB Zoo: A Digital Atlas of Peculiar Spectra". The Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 112 (767): 50. Bibcode:2000PASP..112...50W. doi:10.1086/316490.
  3. ^ Clark, J. S.; Castro, N.; Garcia, M.; Herrero, A.; Najarro, F.; Negueruela, I.; Ritchie, B. W.; Smith, K. T. (2012). "On the nature of candidate luminous blue variables in M 33". Astronomy & Astrophysics. 541: A146. arXiv:1202.4409. Bibcode:2012A&A...541A.146C. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201118440.
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