Stars are most likely to merge or collide in regions of the highest stellar densities, and our own Galactic Center contains many stars packed into a relatively small volume – even the ambient stellar number density in the central 50 pc is quite high, ∼ 103 stars pc−3. More striking, the three compact young clusters in this region have central densities as high as 106 stars pc−3. We discuss these extreme environments and the possibility that stellar mergers and collisions have recently occured there. In particular, we predict that at least one massive star in the Arches cluster has already experienced a stellar merger in its short lifetime. Further, the Pistol Star, in the nearby Quintuplet cluster, might owe its apparent relative youth to a rejuvinating stellar merger. Finally, the apparently young stars in the central arcsecond could be products of either collisions, inducing atmospheric stripping, or mergers. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).
Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit
Department, Program, or Center
School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)
Figer, Donald and Kim, Sungsoo, "Stellar collisions and mergers in the galactic center" (2002). Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus