Max Tegmark's cosmology library: minmass

Figure 6: The minimum mass needed to collapse.

You can get the 500K uncompressed postscript file by clicking here. Click here if you are interested in other research of mine.

How small were the first cosmological objects?


Max Tegmark, Joseph Silk, Martin Rees, Alain Blanchard, Tom Abel & Francesco Palla


The minimum mass that a virialized gas cloud must have in order to be able to cool in a Hubble time is computed, using a detailed treatment of the chemistry of molecular hydrogen. With a simple model for halo profiles, we reduce the problem to that of numerically integrating a system of chemical equations. The results agree well with numerically expensive 3D simulations, and our approach has the advantage of rapidly being able to explore large regions of parameter space. The minimum baryonic mass M_b is found to be strongly redshift dependent, dropping from 10^6 solar masses at z=15 to 5000 solar masses at z=100 as molecular cooling becomes effective. For z>>100, M_b rises again, as CMB photons inhibit H_2-formation through the H^- channel. Finally, for z>>200, the H_2^+ channel for H_2-formation becomes effective, driving M_b down towards 10^3 solar masses. With a standard CDM power spectrum withsigma_8=0.7, this implies that a fraction 10^{-3} of all baryons may have formed luminous objects by z=30, which could be sufficient to reheat the universe.

Reference info:

Published in ApJ, 474, 1-12 (1997)

Online references:

This site also contains the latest versions of some papers that are referenced in the text; Tom Abel's thesis, Max Tegmark's thesis, Tegmark & Silk 1994, Tegmark, Silk & Blanchard & 1994,

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This page was last modified July 1, 1998.