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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 [1] 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.

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

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

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Added by Flornes Yuen on 2015-05-21

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