Scientists have figured out why the galaxy SDSS J1448 + 1010 no longer forms stars

(ORDO NEWS) — Using the Atakama Large Millimeter Wave Array (ALMA) and the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists found that SDSS J1448+1010 stopped forming stars not because it had used up all of its gas, but because most of its star-forming fuel was ejected from the system during a merger with another galaxy. The results of the study were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

During observations of J1448+1010, scientists discovered tidal tails that contained about half of the cold gas available for star formation. The mass of this material, ejected into intergalactic space, is 10 billion times the mass of the Sun, which explains why star formation has ceased in this galaxy.

“What initially made this massive galaxy interesting is that around 70 million years ago, just after a burst of star-forming activity, it suddenly stopped forming stars,” said Justin Spilker, lead author of the study.

“Our observations with ALMA and Hubble have proven that the real reason why the galaxy stopped forming stars is that about half of the gaseous fuel needed to form stars was thrown into intergalactic space due to the merger process.”

Because the new result is the result of a single observation, it is currently unclear how common this scenario might be.

The discovery calls into question the theory that explains the cessation of star formation by blowing out gaseous fuel due to supernova explosions. A much slower merger process could also put an end to star formation in galaxies.

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