Mystery Of Super-Hot 'Blue Hook' Stars Finally Solved
Astronomers may have just solved a mystery 10 billion years in the making.
It has to do with so-called "blue hook" stars, which have less than half the mass of the sun but burn 10 times hotter and are far more luminous. No one was ever able to explain the stars' unusual properties.
New research by an international team of astronomers holds that these super-hot stars are the product of long-ago collisions that destroyed the protostellar discs from which they arose.
The destruction of the discs caused the blue hook stars to rotate more rapidly than they otherwise would have, according to the research. That, in turn, affected the evolution of the stars, leaving them with unusually heavy cores that burn very brightly. What was it that collided with the discs? Other stars. After all, the star clusters in which blue hooks are believed to have formed were densely packed with stars.
To reach their conclusion, the team studied the globular cluster Omega Centauri. The only star cluster that's visible to the naked eye, it contains about 10 million stars in close proximity to one another.