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Cosmic ‘tug-of-war’ between galaxies created a tidal tail of whipped-away stars


A distant galaxy stopped birthing stars when a merger with another galaxy ripped out its star-forming gas and stars, a violent process that left it with a massive ‘tail’ of star-stuff. 

SDSS J1448+1010 was formed when the universe was roughly half its current age of 13.8 billion years old from the collision of two progenitor galaxies. This resulted in a cosmic tug of war arising from each galaxy’s gravitational influence. This tussle ripped stars and gas from the resultant galaxy leaving it with a massive stream of material emerging from it which astronomers call a ‘tidal tail.’





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