galaxy cannibalism

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The ingestion of a small galaxy by a much larger one, in contrast to a galaxy merger, in which the two galaxies are of comparable size. The extended envelopes of stars around giant and supergiant ellipticals are believed to result from cannibalism, which may occur quite frequently at the centres of galaxy clusters. Most average-sized galaxies may incorporate one or more satellite galaxies of up to about one-tenth their present size. The Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy is currently being cannibalized by our own Galaxy.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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