For the first time, astronomers have witnessed the death of a distant galaxy, which they describe as the “A truly violent event”
When all the stars in the galaxy die and new stars no longer form, the galaxy will not have. This happens when all the galactic gases are ejected, making it impossible for new stars to form.
According to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, scientists were “excited” to be able to capture this rare phenomenon recently using a telescope’s Atacama Large Millimeter / submilimeter Array.
It took approximately nine billion years for the light from the ID2299 starburst galaxy to reach Earth, so when astronomers accidentally observed it, they saw the universe as it was only 4.5 billion years old.
Astronomers say that ID2299 loses 10,000 sun’s worth of gas each year, and the fuel needed to create new stars is rapidly depleting. This shocking release appears to be the result of two powerful galaxies colliding and merging to form ID2299.
The galaxy is also forming stars at a rate hundreds of times faster than the Milky Way, using up all of its remaining precious gas, which is why ID2299 is expected to die shortly in just a few tens of thousands of years.
“This is the first time we have observed a galaxy forming a generic large star in a distant universe that is ‘dying’ due to massive cold emissions,” lead author Annagrazia Puglisi said in a statement.
Astronomers believe this phenomenon is the result of galaxies as they can be seen. A rare “tidal tail” that is typically too faint to be seen in distant galaxies. This extended stream of stars and gas, astronomers suggest, are a direct result of galaxies merging.
They only noticed a galaxy for a few minutes. But enough to see the elusive tidal tail
“Our study suggests that gas expulsion can be achieved through mergers and acquisitions, and that winds and currents may be very similar,” said co-author Emanuele Daddi. “This may lead us to rethink our understanding of galactic death.”
If astronomers were right to understand that merging caused large gas losses, they would have to consider earlier theories of how galaxies formed and evolved – and how they died. Other theories suggest that wind from Active black holes or intense star formation contributed to such deaths.
“This single case study shows the possibility that this type of incident may not be uncommon. But somehow, and many galaxies suffer from This ‘removal of gravitational gas’ includes a misinterpretation of past observations.
“This could have a profound impact on our understanding of what determines the evolution of galaxies.”