Stellar Collision Outcomes
Date: Fall 2012
Can two stars collide to make a bigger star or do they destroy each other?
When two stars collide, they can merge to form a larger object or have their motion through space disrupted thereby changing their path through space. How close they come to one another during the collision determines which outcome results.
Joseph P. Bernstein
Good question. If two stars are closely orbiting one another, they can actually merge. If their combined mass exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit, a type 1a supernova can result and both stars are destroyed. If two neutron stars are ornbiting each other they can spiral down and merge also, leading to the formation of a black hole.
I hope this helps.
David H. Levy
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Update: December 2011