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The smashup that rejuvenates

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5:06pm, March 7, 2003

For elderly stars, the fountain of youth may be only a collision away.

Evidence for the rejuvenating power of collisions comes from studying bright, young-looking stars residing in globular clusters, the oldest stellar groupings in the Milky Way. For nearly 50 years, astronomers examining globular clusters have encountered a paradox. Even though massive stars go for the gusto, burning brightly and dying out in just a few million years, several keep on shining in the dense cores of these clusters, which may be as old as 16 billion years.

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