The blue straggler stars of galactic clusters
The origin and evolution of blue straggler stars (BS) in clusters is still an unsolved problem for our understanding of stellar evolution. Several rivalling theories exist, of which that of Saio & Wheeler (1980) is the most interesting one since it assumes additional mixing of fuel in the interior of BS. This theory predicts larger luminosity-to-mass ratios for a given position in the HR diagram compared to the standard evolution theory. This theory has been taylored for the old galactic cluster NGC 7789 which contains many bona fide BS, but it can also be used for other clusters of similar ages. The other theories rely on the standard theory of stellar evolution and assume (1) binary mass exchange or even merging, or (2) delayed star formation. In either case follows a "normal" luminosity-to-mass ratio. We report here on a careful spectroscopic investigation in order to discriminate between these rivalling theories.