Blue stragglers are anomalously luminous core hydrogen-burning stars formed through mass-transfer in binary/triple systems and stellar collisions. Their physical and evolutionary properties are largely unknown and unconstrained. Here we analyze 320 high-resolution spectra of blue stragglers collected in eight galactic globular clusters with different structural characteristics and show evidence that the fraction of fast rotating blue stragglers (with rotational velocities larger than 40 km/s) increases for decreasing central density of the host system. This trend suggests that fast spinning blue stragglers prefer low-density environments and promises to open an unexplored route towards understanding the evolutionary processes of these stars. Since large rotation rates are expected in the early stages of both formation channels, our results provide direct evidence for recent blue straggler formation activity in low-density environments and put strong constraints on the timescale of the collisional blue straggler slow-down processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)