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Violent mergers might be robbing galaxies of their star-birthing material

Observations of a violent galactic merger that occurred between 6 and 7 billion years ago could help solve the mystery of how galaxies “die,” or stop forming stars. 

The unusual features of the dead — or, more accurately, “post-starburst” — galaxy formed by this ancient collision could indicate that these cataclysmic events drive out cold gas. Because this gas is  the building block of stellar formation, banishing it effectively “kills” what’s left of the galaxy, scientists reported in a new study. 

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