News of the WeekAstronomy

Stars Rise From Ashes in Globular Cluster

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Science  16 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5511, pp. 2067
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5511.2067

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Like houses in an industrial area, the stars in a globular cluster are polluted by the exhausts from nearby chemical plants. In a paper to appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Italian astronomers report that sun-sized stars in a globular cluster known as NGC 6752 contain heavy elements that cannot be manufactured in stars that small. The astronomers think the stars acquired the material from now-defunct larger stars--a type of recycling previously seen only in a few binary star systems.