Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Our Milky Way is Set on a Collision Course

Credit: Hubble
Impending Galactic Collision

There will be a collision between the Milky Way and our neighbouring galaxy the Andromeda.

Thursday, NASA announced that after substantial evaluation of Hubble Space Telescope data that they are certain that our Milky Way is going to collide with our neighbor the Andromeda galaxy. Andromeda, called M31, has been closing in on our galaxy for awhile now. The 2 galaxies are being drawn together by the well known force that we call gravity -- between the 2 galaxies. Sangmo Tony Sohn of the Space Telescope Science Institute stated, “After nearly a century of speculation about the future destiny of Andromeda and our Milky Way, we at last have a clear picture of how events will unfold over the coming billions of years“ reports NASA.

Andromeda currently 2.5 million light-years from Earth moves fast at about 250,000 miles per hour. Given the speed the collision should not happen until 4 billion years from now. NASA data suggests that Andromeda’s “sideways” motion places it in a position that the Milky Way will experience a head-on collision.

There is also a chance, according to NASA, that the celestial merger will involve Triangulum galaxy -- a companion that might come along for the ride. The collision's outcome has more to do with orbits and how stars are distributed than it does galactic cataclysm. The distance between stars makes it highly unlikely that any star would even collide.

No worries though as by then it is likely that we will all be long gone. Scientists estimate that in 1.4 billion years the Sun will have become so hot that it will not be possible water to exist on the planet. Our only chance of survival under these circumstances is to move our rear ends and figure out how to truly "travel through time and space" and find another galaxy or perhaps even universe.

Sources: NASA, Wikipedia renderings of impending galactic collision via Hubble

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1 comments on Our Milky Way is Set on a Collision Course

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By JerseyLil on June 03, 2012 at 01:18 pm

Fascinating! Good article, Tony. I shared it on Facebook.

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