Exploring the Physics of Colliding Stars: A Senior High School Project

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In summary, the conversation discusses a project on colliding stars for high school physics. The original poster is struggling to find information on the physics behind colliding stars and is seeking help. Another poster suggests using Newton's laws of motion and including photographs of globular clusters as evidence of collisions. The conversation also mentions the difference between collisions and mergers, and the photogenic nature of globular clusters.
  • #1

sen_almighty

colliding stars...need help

hey ppl, I'm doing a project for senior highskool physics, neways, my topic is colliding stars, i have the process and stuff down, but i can't find things on the physics behind it, like equations used to predict the motion mayobe...or sometohin like keplers laws (i may be soundin stupid to ya'll at this point...) newho, can anyone help me with this please? :smile:
 
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  • #2


Greetings !
Originally posted by sen_almighty
hey ppl, I'm doing a project for senior highskool physics, neways, my topic is colliding stars, i have the process and stuff down, but i can't find things on the physics behind it, like equations used to predict the motion mayobe...or sometohin like keplers laws (i may be soundin stupid to ya'll at this point...) newho, can anyone help me with this please? :smile:
Well, I certainly can't help you (nor do I believe
that this is stuff for high-school students) with
what actually happens during such a collision
but before that I think the "normal" Newton's laws
of motion are all you need. Just two balls in space,
some common center of mass and that's it. Only when
they get real close it is possible to see such
spectacular phenomena as plasma flowing between them
and all, but like I said above that's all probably
very complicated.

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #3


Originally posted by sen_almighty
hey ppl, I'm doing a project for senior highskool physics, neways, my topic is colliding stars, i have the process and stuff down, but i can't find things on the physics behind it, like equations used to predict the motion mayobe...or sometohin like keplers laws (i may be soundin stupid to ya'll at this point...) newho, can anyone help me with this please? :smile:

For a highskool project a good idea is to include some photographs of real stuff that is real-world evidence of what you are discussing.

In this case you might consider

http://victorian.fortunecity.com/durer/481/gcframes.html [Broken]

which has a GALLERY of photographs of GLOBULAR CLUSTERS of stars. These are formed over a billion year time period by millions of close-encounter "collisions" of pairs and triples of stars. If you go to that site you see a "cluster dynamics" button and it says there that these clusters are the best laboratory we have for studying star collisions. Because the spherical distribution of stars and other features are evidence of countless collisions over a long period of time.

People do huge computer simulations of star clusters including a million or so stars, to see how these clusters evolve. How they become spherical.

People sometimes talk about star "mergers" (when they actually splat together) as distinct from "collisions" (where they come close and whip around each other and fly off again).

In globular clusters of stars the actual merger-type events are extremely rare compared with the collisions which are brief gravitational interactions where both stars are deflected by each other and exchange some energy.

Find out from your teacher if it is OK to include this idea of collisions where they interact without merging.

Do you have a picture of a comet doing a one-time pass by the sun in what is called a "hyperbolic" orbit? It just swings close by, is deflected, and flies away----not ever returning. Some comets are non-periodic one-time things. When two stars collide it is rather similar to that hyperbolic orbit comet encounter with the sun.

If your teacher insists on actual merging of the stars then forget I said all this. I apologize in that case. Globular clusters are photogenic things however.
 
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  • #4


Originally posted by marcus

If your teacher insists on actual merging of the stars then forget I said all this. I apologize in that case. Globular clusters are photogenic things however.


it does not have to be erging of stars, any possibility is fine, thanks for the info and the site marcus, greatly appreciated :smile:
 

1. What is the purpose of this project?

The purpose of this project is to provide a hands-on learning experience for senior high school students to explore the fascinating world of physics by studying the phenomenon of colliding stars.

2. What are colliding stars?

Colliding stars are a type of event that occurs when two stars come into close proximity and their gravitational forces cause them to merge together. This can happen between stars of any size, but is most commonly observed in binary star systems.

3. How does this project relate to physics?

This project relates to physics because it involves studying the principles of mechanics, such as Newton's laws of motion and the law of conservation of energy, to understand the behavior of colliding stars. It also involves using mathematical equations and simulations to model and analyze the collisions.

4. What skills will students learn from this project?

Students will learn a variety of skills from this project, including data collection and analysis, mathematical modeling, scientific writing, and teamwork. They will also gain a deeper understanding of the concepts of physics and how they apply to real-world phenomena.

5. How can this project be implemented in a high school setting?

This project can be implemented in a high school setting by providing students with the necessary materials, such as telescopes and computer software, and guiding them through the steps of the project. It can also be incorporated into a physics or astronomy class as a hands-on project or used as an independent study project for interested students.

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