“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” -Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
When stars are born, it normally happens in groups of thousands or more, all at once. They range from just 8% the mass of our Sun, which are dim, red, and long-lived, to dozens or even hundreds of times as massive: the brightest, bluest and shortest-lived stars of all. Because they burn through their fuel the fastest, these most massive stars cease to exist the most quickly.
Yet even in the oldest star clusters available for study, stars that are blue and bright still appear! These blue stragglers were once thought to form from the merger of smaller, redder stars, but two recent studies now suggest an alternative: these stars are formed when one star siphons material off of a binary companion, increasing its own mass and creating a dead white dwarf out of its neighbor.