On The Nature of Blue Stragglers

If you don’t know what a blue straggler is, Nature’s correspondent Melvyn B. Davies defines them simply as “the population of oddly massive stars that lurk in the cores of old star clusters.” You can read his take on the latest findings about blue stragglers online here (with subscription). You can find the two latest papers in Nature by Ferraro et al online here and by Mathieu & Geller [no relation] online here (with subscription). The bottom line is that these latest data point to two feasible mechanisms for forming these blue stragglers, by stellar collision or stellar cannibalism. There is a nice graphic in the Davies synopsis of the two peer-reviewed papers. [Thanks to Eric for pointing out the papers to me.]