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Minor galaxy mergers are major drivers of star formation

28 June 2016 Astronomy Now

Around half of the star formation in the local universe arises from minor mergers between galaxies, according to data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Disruptions to the shapes of spiral galaxies, caused by interactions with their smallest neighbours, points to increased star formation. Evidence suggests that minor galactic mergers are therefore important drivers of galaxy evolution.

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The tell-tale signs of a galactic merger

29 January 2015 Astronomy Now

NGC 7714 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces that drifted too close to its companion. The gravitational interaction has twisted its spiral arms out of shape, dragged streams of material out into space, and triggered bright bursts of star formation.