Starlight robs galaxy of stellar ingredients | Science News

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Starlight robs galaxy of stellar ingredients

Newborn stars may prevent future generations from forming

By
1:36pm, December 3, 2014
galaxy M82

MOVING OUT Light from a prolific burst of star formation blows clouds of ionized hydrogen (red) out of the galaxy M82, a typical starburst galaxy seen in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Starlight may be robbing a distant galaxy of the ingredients needed to make future stars, researchers report in the Dec. 4 Nature. A few billion suns’ worth of carbon monoxide is streaming out of SDSS J0905+57, a galaxy about 8 billion light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. The observations may help astronomers figure out what controls how quickly stars form and what happens to the gas that doesn’t end up in stars.

SDSS J0905+57 is churning out new stars roughly 100 times as fast as the Milky Way.

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