A stellar collision is the coming together of two stars[1] caused by stellar dynamics within a star cluster, or by the orbital decay of a binary star due to stellar mass loss or gravitational radiation, or by other mechanisms not yet well understood.

Astronomers predict that events of this type occur in the globular clusters of our galaxy about once every 10,000 years.[2] On 2 September 2008 scientists first observed a stellar merger in Scorpius (named V1309 Scorpii), though it was not known to be the result of a stellar merger at the time.[3]

Any stars in the universe can collide, whether they are 'alive', meaning fusion is still active in the star, or 'dead', with fusion no longer taking place. White dwarf stars, neutron stars, black holes, main sequence stars, giant stars, and supergiants are very different in type, mass, temperature, and radius, and so react differently.[2]

A gravitational wave event that occurred on 25 August 2017, GW170817, was reported on 16 October 2017 to be associated with the merger of two neutron stars in a distant galaxy, the first such merger to be observed via gravitational radiation.[4][5][6][7]

About half of all the stars in the sky are part of binary systems, with two stars orbiting each other. Some bi

About half of all the stars in the sky are part of binary systems, with two stars orbiting each other. Some binary stars orbit each other so closely that they share the same atmosphere, giving the system a peanut shape. While most contact binary stars are stable, a few have become unstable and have merged in the past for reasons not well understood (see relevant section below).

Formation of planets

When two low-mass stars in a binary system merge, mass may be thrown off in the orbital plane of the merging stars, creating an excretion disk from which new planets can form.[12]


While the concept of stellar c

While the concept of stellar collision has been around for several generations of astronomers, only the development of new technology has made it possible for it to be more objectively studied. For example, in 1764, a cluster of stars known as Messier 30 was discovered by astronomer Charles Messier. In the twentieth century, astronomers concluded that the cluster was approximately 13 billion years old.[13] The Hubble Space Telescope resolved the individual stars of Messier 30. With this new technology, astronomers discovered that some stars, known as “blue stragglers”, appeared younger than other stars in the cluster.[13] Astronomers then hypothesized that stars may have “collided”, or “merged”, giving them more fuel so they continued fusion while fellow stars around them started going out.[13]

Stellar collisions and the Solar System