Illustration for article titled Vampirism and Collisions Keep Ancient Stars Young

Here are some vampires we don't mind sparkling. This globular cluster, Messier 30, contains two types of ancient stars that have managed to keep themselves brilliant and young. One type relies on interstellar collisions; the other drinks from its neighbors.

Messier 30 is an unusual cluster. It's an ancient cluster, and yet it is filled with blue stars, stars that tend to age and die more quickly than other types of stars. Astronomers have termed these unusually old blue stars "blue stragglers," and they believe that there are two reasons these stars still exist.


Some of the blue stragglers in Messier 30 are vampires; when they get near a more massive star, they are able to siphon off hydrogen from that star, effectively lengthening its life. But more recent studies have found that some of the stars are the results of high-powered collisions. When two older stars collide head-on, it restokes their nuclear fusion, resulting in larger, seemingly younger blue stars than before.

Vampires and collisions rejuvenate stars [Hubble Information Centre via Bad Astronomy]

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