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.
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 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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