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Research report (imported) 2011 - Max Planck Institute for Astronomy

The significance of galactic collisions for star formation in the cosmos


Robaina, Aday R.; Bell, Erik; Skelton, Rosalind; Gallazzi, Anna; Jahnke, Knud; Meisenheimer, Klaus; Skibba, Ramin


Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Heidelberg

When large galaxies come close to one another, the resulting tidal forces initiate intense star-forming activity. However, this process does not play a very important role in the formation of stars in general. In fact, an international study headed by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy has shown that the formation of no more than ten percent of all new stars has been initiated directly by gravitational interaction in mass-rich galaxies during the last eight billion years (at redshifts z < 1). This finding is of great significance for the theory of galaxy evolution.
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