Research report 2010 - 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
SummaryWhen 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.