NASA's Hubble Shows Milky Way is Destined for collision

User avatar
Posts: 641
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:42 pm

PostFri Jun 01, 2012 11:08 am » by Arella

Upload to

This incredible image shows how our skies will look when the Milky Way galaxy collides with our cosmic neighbour, the Andromeda galaxy, in four billion years.
Astronomers at NASA have confirmed that, according to their latest models, a major collision will occur in a major cosmic event.
The head-on encounter is expected to happen four billion years from now - catapulting our sun to another area of the galaxy, with stars tossed on to different orbits, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute revealed on Thursday.
Although Earth and its solar system won't be destroyed, it will be pushed away from the galactic core more than it is now.


Colossal: This NASA illustration shows the Milky Way (left) and the Andromeda galaxy, which are expected to collide in four billion years from now

'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,' said Sangmo Tony Sohn, Baltimore, Maryland-based institute.
After the Andromeda galaxy finally strikes the Milky Way, it will be another two billion years before the two totally come together and form a single elliptical galaxy.

A mutual pull of gravity is bringing the two galaxies together as Andromeda, known to scientists as M31, falls at a ferocious rate toward the Milky Way.
Andromeda is currently 2.5million light-years away.


Impact: Earth won't be destroyed when Andromeda smashes into the Milky Way (pictured), but stars will likely be tossed into different orbits and it will take an additional two billion years for the two galaxies to totally merge

'In the 'worst-case scenario' simulation, M31 slams into the Milky Way head-on and the stars are all scattered into orbits,' said team member Gurtina Besla in a statement.
The Andromeda is plowing toward Earth's galaxy at roughly 250,000 miles per hour.
That rate is the equivalent of traveling from Earth to the moon in an hour.
Astronomers also believe a third, smaller galaxy called the Triangulum will also be a part of the collision and could join the Milky Way and Andromeda mash-up.
It previously had been difficult to determine whether the two galaxies would slam into each other.
Members of the NASA Hubble Space Telescope team, however, were able to make certain that the two will crash with exact views of Andromeda's sideways motion.


Fast: Andromeda (pictured) is plowing toward Earth's galaxy at roughly 250,000 miles per hour, which is the equivalent of traveling from Earth to the moon in 60 minutes

Change: When the two galaxies collide, the sun (pictured) will be catapulted across another area of the galaxy

'This was accomplished by repeatedly observing select regions of the galaxy over a five- to seven-year period,' said the institute's Jay Anderson, in a statement.
The astronomers used extremely powerful cameras to capture the measurements that were crucial to understand the motion of Andromeda.
As the universe expands and accelerates, collisions can happen between two galaxies close together because of the gravity from dark matter around them.
These types of mergers were more likely to happen in the past when the universe was not as large as it is today.

Read more: ... z1wXBk1G00

  • Related topics
    Last post