Some stars, like this blue straggler, glow with the light from surrounding stars. This photograph was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997.
Click on image for full size
Blue Stars Cheer-up Astronomers
News story originally written on November 3, 1997
Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to learn more
about a unique type of star called a blue straggler. Blue stragglers are
stars located in densely packed globular clusters
. They are
about twice as massive and one-fifth as old compared to the other stars
in the cluster, which are though to have formed around the same time and
in a similar manner.
For years astronomers have wondered how these unusual stars form. The two
main theories are based on two different stars combining into one, which
we see as a blue straggler. One theory says that the two different stars
are in a binary system eventually merge into one. The other theory says
that the two different stars happen to randomly collide in the cluster.
The pictures from the HST support the first theory, that blue stragglers
are formed from a binary system.
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