Geek Trivia

Stars That Cannibalize Other Stars Are Known As?

Blue Stragglers
Gas Vacuums
What Famed Geeky Television Show Was Originally Known As "Owl Stretching Time"?

Answer: Blue Stragglers

In 1953, astronomers first observed a very peculiar going-on right in our own celestial backyard, the Milky Way: stars that appeared far, far, younger than their nearest celestial neighbors. How could these few rogue stars appear so blue (an indicator of a higher temperature and hydrogen content and thus age) compared to their neighbors who presumably formed at the same time?

The stars maintain their youthful appearance much in the same way as the vampires of human legend: by siphoning the energy of their companions. In the star-dense center of the Milky Way, there are dozens of these “Blue Stragglers”, quietly pulling the hydrogen right out of their neighbors and, in the process, extending their own lifespans at the expense of the stars they feed on.

Image courtesy of NASA.