An international group of astronomers that includes UC Santa Barbara astrophysicist Crystal Martin and former UCSB postdoctoral researcher Nicolas Bouché has spotted a distant galaxy hungrily snacking on nearby gas. The gas is seen to fall inward toward the galaxy, creating a flow that both fuels star formation and drives the galaxy's rotation. This is the best direct observational evidence so far supporting the theory that galaxies pull in and devour nearby material in order to grow and form stars. The results will appear in the July 5 issue of the journal Science.
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