Astronomers captured the beginning of the process that causes the “death” of galaxies, according to a new collaborative study carried out between several countries published in the journal Nature Astronomy. The event is the result of its loss of ability to form stars and due to a significant loss of gas in space, due to a collision with another galaxy.
The research was carried out through the largest radio telescope in the world, called Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), in partnership with the European Southern Observatory (European Southern Observatory). Nicknamed “ID2299”, the observed galaxy lost in the process about 46% of cold gas in total, equivalent to 10,000 suns a year. The rest of the compost should be consumed in a few tens of millions of years.
“This is the first time that we have observed a massive star-forming galaxy in the distant Universe about to ‘die’ because of a massive gas ejection,” said Annagrazia Puglisi, principal researcher on the work.
“I was thrilled to discover such an exceptional galaxy. I was eager to learn more about this strange object, I was convinced that there was some important lesson about the evolution of distant galaxies, ”she said.
The team pointed out that the discovery happened at random, while monitoring a survey of galaxies by the instrument designed to study cold gas properties in more than 100 distant clusters.
“Witnessing such a massive interruption event adds an important piece to the complex puzzle of the evolution of the galaxy,” added Chiara Circosta, another researcher at the work. In the future, experts will be able to use ALMA to make high-resolution and even deeper observations of this galaxy, allowing them to better understand the dynamics of the ejected gas.