From Quarks to Quasars

Blue Stragglers: The Blood Suckers of the Universe

Vampires. Several hundred books have been written about them, they are now a viable love interest in movies and television shows, and some of them (apparently) sparkle. As much as I dislike the “Twilight” variety vampire, perhaps that’s the one particular mythology that’s relevant to vampire stars. Yep, you read that right; stars exist that last much longer than the usual expiration date by feeding on their stellar counterparts (it’s probably a lot cooler than it sounds).

For decades, astronomers have been puzzled by the extended life-spans of extremely hot, metal-poor, blue-white stars located in globular clusters. These stars normally have a short life-span (cosmologically speaking) of a few hundred million years in comparison to their counterparts, red and yellow dwarf stars (like our sun) which generally remain in main sequence portion of stellar evolution for a few billions of years. These “blue-stragglers” (as they are called) are peculiar stars indeed. While their neighbors are showing their age and nearing the end of their stellar life-spans, these stars still appear quite young and very hot. 

Why though? Something is certainly out of whack : http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/blue-stragglers-the-blood-suckers-of-the-universe/

Image Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

Blue Stragglers: The Blood Suckers of the Universe

Vampires. Several hundred books have been written about them, they are now a viable love interest in movies and television shows, and some of them (apparently) sparkle. As much as I dislike the “Twilight” variety vampire, perhaps that’s the one particular mythology that’s relevant to vampire stars. Yep, you read that right; stars exist that last much longer than the usual expiration date by feeding on their stellar counterparts (it’s probably a lot cooler than it sounds).

For decades, astronomers have been puzzled by the extended life-spans of extremely hot, metal-poor, blue-white stars located in globular clusters. These stars normally have a short life-span (cosmologically speaking) of a few hundred million years in comparison to their counterparts, red and yellow dwarf stars (like our sun) which generally remain in main sequence portion of stellar evolution for a few billions of years. These “blue-stragglers” (as they are called) are peculiar stars indeed. While their neighbors are showing their age and nearing the end of their stellar life-spans, these stars still appear quite young and very hot.

Why though? Something is certainly out of whack : http://www.fromquarkstoquasars.com/blue-stragglers-the-blood-suckers-of-the-universe/

Image Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

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