When neutron stars collide, the explosion is called a gamma-ray bursts, or GRB. Most originate in the very distant universe. One nearby could trigger a mass extinction on Earth. Typically they are very short, the longest GRB lasting around 20 seconds.
What is interesting is that because of their gravitational pull, stars colliding head on is very rare. However, it does happen, and when stars to collide head on, it will result in the disruption of both stars, possibly too damaged to move again. When the stars collide but just glance or rub against each other, the stars will survive and continue to orbit.
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