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Ice stars and the deep future of the universe
The Long Term Fate and Evolution of Astrophysical Objects

Some very interesting stuff here, including the concept of an 'ice star'.
As the metallicity of stars increases over time, the density of an average star will be greater in the distant future. Towards the end of the so-called stelliferous era, newly formed stars will be so dense that fusion will occur even in small brown-dwarf or jupiter-sized objects.

These stars will be so small and cool that the surface temperature could reach as low as 273K, or 0 Celsius; they will glow with infrared light, and ice clouds will form at the top of the atmosphere. Such a small, dim star could shine for a quadrillion years. A few tens of kilometers into the atmosphere of such a star, the temperature will be balmy and capable of supporting life (though it would be dark to human eyes).

The warm atmosphere could support bubblehabs or some other floating infrastructure, which could derive usable power from infrared radiation, thermal gradients, or atmospheric turbulence. Such an arrangement could sustain life or processing for an incredibly long time.

This sort of object would not exist in our current universe, since metalicities are not high enough yet - or rather they would be very rare indeed. But I can imagine this sort of object being a desirable form of long term project or megastructure for some forward-looking faction.

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Ice stars and the deep future of the universe - by stevebowers - 07-27-2014, 01:06 AM

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