European scientists made an extraordinary observation in space with an ESO telescope: the beginning of a galaxy's process of death.
Everything is ephemeral: Even the huge accumulations of stars and planetary systems in the
- better known as galaxies like our Milky Way - succumb to an aging process in a certain way ... until they actually
in the end, according to technical jargon
The reason: From a certain point in time they can no
Since the life of a
is also finite, the life of a
together with the gradually dying light of its
- at least that's the theory.
The problem: So far,
astronomers have been
in the dark, which could be the trigger for a galaxy no longer being able to form stars.
Dying Galaxy: Until now, the process has never been observed
Although there is already evidence of active or inactive
have not yet been able to observe
the actual beginning of the
, which has led to a number of theories.
For example, it has been suggested that the
extremely massive black holes in the center of the galaxies could blow out gases that are
for the formation of
However, an accidental discovery with a telescope from the
European Southern Observatory (ESO)
to a new explanation.
Because: As a press release shows, a team of scientists from the British University of Durham and the French Saclay Research Center recently managed for the first time to “look at the beginning” of the
far, far away
The observed research object is a
about nine billion light years away
, which is in a sense
Its not very sonorous name:
"This is the first time that we
a typical massive star-forming galaxy in the distant
that is about to extinguish due to a tremendous cold gas ejection," Annagrazia Puglisi of Durham University is quoted in the press release.
The galaxy loses gas annually with the mass of about 10,000 suns
This "eject" shows up in the form of a huge
through which the
an annual amount of about
overshoots - much as would a human blood and thus its lifeblood lose.
Metaphorically speaking, one could say that the
can see through the telescope how “ID2299” is bleeding to death.
a collision of two galaxies, which ultimately merged to form “
as the trigger for the great
loss of gas
"Our study suggests that gas ejections are generated by mergers and that winds and tidal tails can look very similar," study co-author Emanuele Daddi of CEA-Saclay is
Observation could lead to a completely new understanding of dying galaxies
So-called “tidal tails” are star and gas regions that
and that, according to scientific understanding, are created by gravitational forces between neighboring galaxies.
However, as a result of the new observations, this understanding could now change.
For objects previously identified by researchers as “winds” of distant galaxies could therefore also be
"That could mean that we have
our understanding of how
die," explains Emanuele Daddi in the press release.