Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Artist's illustration of a galaxy having its gas "ripped out" by a collision.
Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.

ALMA captures distant colliding galaxy dying out as it loses the ability to form stars

Majestically, calmly, and lonely, galaxies dwell in the vast intergalactic space.

That is, until another galaxy comes too close, smashes into them, violently tearing apart their beautiful structure and shredding out long fragments of their interstellar medium.

Long "tidal tails" caused by such galactic collisions consist of faint gas which until recently had only been seen in the local Universe. But a new study released yesterday (co-authored by DAWN's Francesco Valentino) reports on the detection of massive amounts of gas being stripped from a distant galaxy at a rate of 10,000 Solar masses per year — gas that was "supposed" to be used for forming new stars.

This confirms the hypothesis that star formation may be quenched by galactic mergers.


Tags: ,