AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 108 Early Stars and Clusters
Invited, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 3:40-5:10pm, Centennial I/II

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[108.01] The First Stars and Quasars and the End of the Cosmic Dark Ages

V. Bromm (Harvard University)

I review recent theoretical results on the formation of the first stars and quasars in the universe. In particular, I discuss the initial conditions for Population III star formation, as given by variants of the cold dark matter cosmology. Numerical simulations of the collapse and fragmentation of primordial gas clouds indicate that the first stars were predominantly very massive. The precise determination of the stellar masses has to rely on our improved understanding of the accretion physics and protostellar feedback effects. I address the importance of heavy elements in bringing about the transition from an early star formation mode dominated by massive stars, to the familiar mode dominated by lower mass stars at later times. I show how complementary observations, both at high redshifts and in the local universe, can probe the first epoch of star formation.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.