tidal captureA process by which a star can capture a passing, initially unbound star into a bound orbit. This is achieved by dissipating some of the orbital energy by raising tides in one or both stars. Since this process is effective only when the smaller star comes to within some three stellar radii of the larger star, tidal capture can only occur in very dense high-collision environments like globular clusters. Low-mass X-ray binaries and blue stragglers in globular clusters may be direct products of tidal captures.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006