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This image of a blue straggler, a rejuvenated star that glows with the light of younger stars, was taken by he Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in October of 1997.
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NASA

Blue Stars Cheer-up Astronomers
News story originally written on November 3, 1997

Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to find evidence of how a unique type of star called a blue straggler is formed. "This is an extremely exciting result," astronomer Rex Saffer said, "because it may help distinguish between competing theories of blue straggler star formation and evolution."

Blue stragglers are stars, located in globular clusters, which are about twice as massive yet one-fifth as young as their neighboring stars. This is unusual because most stars in a cluster are thought to have formed around the same time and in a similar manner. Allan Sandage first discovered this different type of star nearly 45 years ago.

For years astronomers have wondered how these stars form. The two main theories are based on blue stragglers forming from two separate stars. One theory states that the two stars were in a binary system and they eventually merged. The other theory states that the two stars happened to collide in the star-filled globular clusters. Analysis of the information from the HST leads scientists to believe the slower theory, based on a binary system.

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