Merging Stars Can Lead to Blue Supergiants

Artistic image of a binary system of a red giant star and a younger companion that can merge to produce a blue supergiant. Credit: Casey Reed, NASA

In the constellation of Orion, there is a brilliant bluish-white star. It marks the right foot of the starry hunter. It’s known as Rigel, and it is the most famous example of a blue supergiant star. Blue supergiants are more than 10,000 times brighter than the Sun, with masses 16 – 40 times greater. They are unstable and short-lived, so they should be rare in the galaxy. While they are rare, blue supergiants aren’t as rare as we would expect. A new study may have figured out why.

Continue reading “Merging Stars Can Lead to Blue Supergiants”