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When Galaxies Collide

The new one percent. (AP photo)

The new one percent.
(AP photo)

Astronomers had thought that when galaxies collide, star formation in both is accelerated. But maybe not:

In this latest study, the scientists used the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey observed using the Anglo-Australian Telescope in regional New South Wales. They found that whether a galaxy forms stars more rapidly in a collision or forms any new stars at all depends on if it is the bigger or smaller galaxy in a galactic collision.

“When two galaxies of similar mass collide, they both increase their stellar birth rate,” said Luke Davies, one of the researchers, in a news release. “However when one galaxy significantly outweighs the other, we have found that star formation rates are affected for both, just in different ways. The more massive galaxy begins rapidly forming new stars, whereas the smaller galaxy suddenly struggles to make any at all.”

A clear case of the big and powerful taking advantage of the small and weak — comprehensive legislation is required at once.