|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