Astronomers Just Captured A Distant Galaxy Dying For The First Time

Astronomers capture amazing image of a dying galaxy

Astronomers capture amazing image of a dying galaxy

Earlier, astronomers believed that winds caused by star formation and the activity of black holes at the centre of the galaxies are responsible for launching star-forming material into space thus ending thus, ending galaxies abilities to make new stars. Because of this, some of the teams that previously identified winds from distant galaxies could in fact have been observing tidal tails ejecting gas from them. In the shape of a "tidal tail", a long stream of stars and gas stretching into interstellar space shows where the impact was detected.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), whose global collaboration is the largest ground-based astronomical project in existence, astronomers observed a faraway galaxy as it ejected almost half of its star-forming gas and fuel - a "starburst" that kicks off galaxy death.

The rate at which the gas is being expelled from ID2299 is too high to have been caused by the energy created by a black hole or starburst as seen in previous studies, while simulations suggest that no black holes can kick out as much cold gas from a galaxy.

Their study, published in Nature Astronomy, suggests a new way that galaxies can eject star-forming fuel into space - sealing their fate.

The Milky Way Galaxy that houses Earth is just over 13 billion years old.

A sensational image of a dying galaxy - ejecting 10,000 Suns-worth of gas every year due to a large collision - has been captured by an worldwide team of astronomers.

The ID2299 galaxy is losing 10,000 suns-worth of gas per year, which is diminishing the fuel it needs to form stars by removing 46% of the galaxy's total cold gas so far.

The team is of the opinion that the gas ejection is due to the collision of two galaxies, which merged to form the ID2299.

Astronomers capture amazing image of a dying galaxy

Galaxies die when the stars that live in them stop forming. This phenomenon is called "tidal tail" and is usually very faint to be captured at such a distance, but astronomers saw this when the event was still bright because it was just being launched into space.

This exceptional massive ejection is being caused by a tidal tail, produced by the galaxy's merger with another galaxy.

Daddi points out that winds and tidal tails can appear very similar. The galaxy, ID2299, is distant enough that its light takes some 9 billion years to reach us; we see it when the Universe was just 4.5 billion years old. "This might lead us to revise our understanding of how galaxies 'die'".

Now our new study offers galaxy mergers as another way of shutting down star formation and altering galaxy growth.

Perhaps the best part about this discovery is that it was made while the astronomers were working on a different survey of cold gas in distant galaxies.

Fellow co-author Dr Jeremy Fensch, of the Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon, added: "Studying this single case unveiled the possibility that this type of event might not be unusual at all and that many galaxies suffered from this "gravitational gas removal", including misinterpreted past observations".

"ALMA has shed new light on the mechanisms that can halt the formation of stars in distant galaxies", study co-author Chiara Circosta said in the ESO news release.

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