Image Source: theprint.com
Recently, astronomers for the first time have observed the death of a distant galaxy. It was a truly extreme event.
It is a fact that when all the stars in a galaxy die, new ones are no longer form, and then the galaxy itself ceases to exist.
This occurs mainly when the gas in the galaxy is ejected which makes it impossible to form stars.
Scientists were thrilled to observe this rare phenomenon with the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array of telescopes in Chile.
It takes around nine billion years for the light from starburst galaxy ID2299 to reach. They observed it by chance and the universe appeared at just 4.5 billion years old.
According to astronomers, ID2299 is losing 10,000 suns worth of gas each year. It is estimated that the galaxy is currently removing 46 percent of the total cold gas it contains.
This startling release of gas appears to be the result of two galaxies violently colliding and merging together to create ID2299.
"This is the first time we have observed a typical massive star-forming galaxy in the distant universe about to 'die' because of a massive cold gas ejection," lead author Annagrazia Puglisi said in a statement.
Astronomers believe that this phenomenon is the result of galaxies merging because they were able to witness a rare ‘tidal tail’ which is usually too faint to see in distant galaxies.
If the astronomers are correct in their observations that the merger will led to the massive loss of gas then they will need to reconsider prior theories on galaxy how they evolved and formed.
"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," said co-author Dr. Jeremy Fensch.
"This might have huge consequences on our understanding of what actually shapes the evolution of galaxies."