Scientists have believed that
post-starburst galaxies or galaxies born from violent galactic collisions that are no longer forming stars, expel gas and dust and remain dormant, or unable to produce new stars.
But new observations by the
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile indicate that PSBs actually retain much of their gas after the merger, which would typically fuel star formation.
When two galaxies collide violently,
there's usually a burst of star formation. But in rare instances,a galactic merger results in a PSB, where there’s little to no star formation at all.
Scientists have theorized
that the reason why is that the gas and dust required to birth stars is expelled from PSBs.
But, according to the ALMA
data in this new study, while PSBs compress their gas, which should be sufficient fuel to boost star formation, they still remain dormant.
Astronomer Adam Smercina said
"While this compact gas should be forming stars efficiently, it isn’t. In fact, it is less than 10 percent as efficient as similarly compact gas is expected to be,"