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Axion instability supernovae

Sakstein, Jeremy; Croon, Djuna; McDermott, Samuel D.

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Jeremy Sakstein

Samuel D. McDermott


and strongly coupled. In this work, we investigate the astrophysical consequences of such a scenario for massive stars by incorporating new contributions to the equation of state into a state of the art stellar structure code. We focus on axions in the “cosmological triangle,” a region of parameter space with 300 keV ≲ ma ≲ 2 MeV, gaγγ ∼ 10−5 GeV−1 that is not presently excluded by other considerations. We find that for axion masses ma ∼ me, axion production in the core drives a new stellar instability that results in explosive nuclear burning that either drives a series of mass-shedding pulsations or completely disrupts the star resulting in a new type of optical transient—an Axion Instability Supernova. We predict that the upper black hole mass gap would be located at 37 M⊙ ≤ M ≤ 107 M⊙ in these theories, a large shift down from the standard prediction, which is disfavored by the detection of the mass gap in the LIGO/Virgo/ KAGRA GWTC-2 gravitational wave catalog beginning at 46þ17 −6 M⊙. Furthermore, axion-instability supernovae are more common than pair-instability supernovae, making them excellent candidate targets for James Webb Space Telescope. The methods presented in this work can be used to investigate the astrophysical consequences of any theory of new physics that contains heavy bosonic particles of arbitrary spin. We provide the tools to facilitate such studies


Sakstein, J., Croon, D., & McDermott, S. D. (2022). Axion instability supernovae. Physical Review D, 105(9), Article 095038.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 12, 2022
Online Publication Date May 25, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jul 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 26, 2022
Journal Physical Review D
Print ISSN 2470-0010
Electronic ISSN 2470-0029
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 105
Issue 9
Article Number 095038


Published Journal Article (518 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of<br /> the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.<br /> Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to<br /> the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation,<br /> and DOI. Funded by SCOAP3.

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