In news– Recently, the researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru have deciphered the formation of Blue stragglers star formation.
About recent discovery-
- The researchers have found that half of the blue stragglers in their sample are formed through mass transfer from a close binary companion star, while one third are likely formed through collisions of two stars.
- And the remaining are formed through interactions of more than two stars.
- The researchers utilised the Gaia telescope launched in 2013 by the European Space Agency with its excellent positional accuracy to select the blue stragglers in clusters.
- This first-ever comprehensive analysis of blue stragglers is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
- It showed that these stars are primarily present in the older and massive star clusters and due to their large mass, they are segregated towards the centre of the clusters.
- The researchers compared the mass of the blue stragglers to the mass of the turnoff stars (which are the most massive ‘normal’ stars in the cluster) and predicted the formation mechanisms.
About Blue stragglers
- A blue straggler is a main-sequence star in an open or globular cluster that is more luminous and bluer than stars at the main sequence turnoff point for the cluster.
- They are bigger and bluer than the rest of the stars.
- They were first discovered by Allan Sandage in 1953 while performing photometry of the stars in the globular cluster M3.
Interesting clusters and blue stragglers identified in this study will be followed up with ultraviolet imaging using UV Imaging Telescope on AstroSat, India’s first dedicated space observatory, as well as the 3.6 m Devasthal Optical Telescope in Nainital.