A Series of Collisions with the Future: The Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies Join Together.

Posted: June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

“There is the sky, which is all men’s together.”        Euripides

Illustration of Earth night-time view of Andromeda-Milky Way Galaxies

Four Billion years from now our once lone galaxy will have a major collision with the oncoming Andromeda Galaxy.  The collision will result in a merger of the two galaxies remaking the two into a larger galactic body.  The remake of our two revolving nests of stars will not damage our own fragile arrangement of planetary bodies but will fling our star into a new region of this now larger galaxy.

As NASA notes: “Computer simulations derived from Hubble’s data show that it will take an additional two billion years after the encounter for the interacting galaxies to completely merge under the tug of gravity and reshape into a single elliptical galaxy similar to the kind commonly seen in the local universe. Although the galaxies will plough into each other, stars inside each galaxy are so far apart that they will not collide with other stars during the encounter. However, the stars will be thrown into different orbits around the new galactic center. Simulations show that our solar system will probably be tossed much farther from the galactic core than it is today.”

The insight to the collision “came through painstaking NASA Hubble Space Telescope measurements of the motion of Andromeda, which also is known as M31. The galaxy is now 2.5 million light-years away, but it is inexorably falling toward the Milky Way under the mutual pull of gravity between the two galaxies and the invisible dark matter that surrounds them both.”

The conclusion of the intersection and merger after the initial collision will take an additional two billion years to complete and will happen under a massive pull of gravity between the two systems. The resultant reshaped form will be a single elliptical galaxy similar to a type commonly seen in our proximate local universe. Though the Milky Way (our place of residence) and Andromeda will crash into one another, stars which compose each galaxy are placed so far from one another that the probability of collisions are minimal. “After the merger most of the stars will be thrown into entirely new places around the new galactic center. Simulations show that our solar system will probably be tossed much farther from the galactic core than it is today.”

See the Hubble/NASA site.

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Comments
  1. Alex says:

    Sun will eat Earth before collision, so no “nice views” will be available.

    • hapstance says:

      Yup you are right there: “The Sun is slowly getting warmer as it burns the hydrogen in its core. In about 5 billion years, the Sun will begin evolving into a bloated red giant. Its outer gas shell will swell up, engulfing the Earth by the time it reaches its peak size and brightness 7 billion years from now.
      But long before that, in 1.1 billion years, the Sun will grow 11% brighter, raising average terrestrial temperatures to around 50 °C (120 °F). That will warm the oceans so much that they evaporate without boiling, like a pan of water left on a sunny kitchen counter.”

      View would definitely be difficult! Or as it was put:

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