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21st of May 2015
*** PRESS RELEASE *** Galaxy's snacking habits revealed
A team of Australian and Spanish astronomers have caught a greedy galaxy gobbling on its neighbours and leaving crumbs of evidence about its dietary past.

Galaxies grow by churning loose gas from their surroundings into new stars, or by swallowing neighbouring galaxies whole. However, they normally leave very few traces of their cannibalistic habits.

A study published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) not only reveals a spiral galaxy devouring a nearby compact dwarf galaxy, but shows evidence of its past galactic snacks in unprecedented detail.

The image above shows a chemical enrichment map of the galaxy pair NGC 1512/10, showing the amount of oxygen in the star-forming regions around the two galaxies.

Reference: López-Sánchez, Westmeier, Koribalski, Esteban 2015, MNRAS 450, 3381

Related paper: Koribalski & López-Sánchez 2009, MNRAS 400, 1749

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