Massive galaxies Consume Smaller Galaxies
A new study has suggested that big galaxies start gobbling up small galaxies around them when they stop making new stars. According to researchers, earth’s Milky Way Galaxy will be chewed down by Andromeda Galaxy in about five billion years.
During the detailed study, astronomers noticed over 22,000 galaxies and they found that smaller galaxies were very efficient at making stars from gas as compared to their bigger counterparts, which create a small number of new stars themselves.
“All galaxies start off small and grow by collecting gas and quite efficiently turning it into stars. Then every now and then they get completely cannibalized by some much larger galaxy”, Aaron Robotham of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), at the University of Western Australia and the study’s co-author, said in a statement.
It is expected that the Milky Way galaxy will develop further by eating up two close-by dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds in about four billion years, until it acquires its retribution from the Andromeda galaxy in about five billion years.
The study was based on data gathered by using the Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales as part of the Galaxy and Mass Assembly, or GAMA survey. Survey was led by Simon Driver, a professor at ICRAR and it involved over 90 scientists and took seven years to complete.
According to Robotham, as galaxies develop, they produce more gravity and can more easily pull in their neighbors. It is expected that this gravitational power combines galaxies that dispersed in groups and clusters into a few super-giant galaxies. But, the process could take many billion years to take place.
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