Friday, 29 November 2013

Blue Giants – Stars That Should No Longer Shine

Blue stars can be huge. Image courtesy of Answers magazine.

Joel Kontinen

Among the kaleidoscope of stars, brilliant blue stars are of special interest. They shine so brightly that they should burn up their fuel in just a few million years. But they’re still everywhere, as if recently created,” astronomy professor Danny Faulkner writes in Answers magazine.

Blue giants are huge – and they are a huge problem for those who believe in a multi-billion year old universe. They should not exist, but they do.

Professor Faulkner says that believers in long ages have attempted to find a solution to this dilemma:

Astronomers have found huge amounts of gas within the arms of spiral galaxies (called the interstellar medium, or ISM). This gas has the same main ingredient as stars—hydrogen. The gas (and dust) clouds are very clumpy, with a wide range in density. Given the similar chemical composition of gas clouds and stars, astronomers assume that the more dense clumps of gas contract under their own gravity to form new stars.”

However, he says that this scenario is unlikely, as “gas particles don’t naturally collapse into small, burning balls”. Moreover, there are theoretical limits to a collapsible gas cloud and appealing to unknown mechanisms is hardly a scientific method.

In other words, the best answer is that blue giants are much younger than most astronomers assume.


Faulkner, Danny. 2011. Blue Stars—Unexpected Brilliance. Answers 6 (1), 50–53. (Jan-March 2011.)