Supermassive stars in quasar disks

J. Goodman, Jonathan C. Tan

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171 Scopus citations


We propose that supermassive stars may form in quasar accretion disks, and we discuss possible observational consequences. The structure and stability of very massive stars are reviewed. Because of high accretion rates, quasar disks are massive, and the fringes of their optically luminous parts are prone to fragmentation. Starting from a few hundred solar masses, a dominant fragment will grow to the isolation mass, which is a significant fraction of the disk mass, more quickly than the fragment contracts onto the stellar main sequence. A gap will form in the disk, and the star will migrate inward on the accretion timescale, which is comparable to the star's main-sequence lifetime. By interrupting the gas supply to the inner disk, the gap may temporarily dim and redden the quasar. The final stages of stellar migration will be a strong source of low-frequency gravitational waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Jun 10 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Gravitation
  • Quasars: general
  • Stars: formation


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