Here’s everything we know about the future ‘collision’ between the Milky Way, our home, and the Andromeda galaxy, the movie
The Milky Way, as we know, is destined to suffer a collision with Andromeda. Astronomers are certain that this great cosmic event will happen in four billion years. But what are the consequences and what should we expect for the solar system as we know it? Let’s find out together. Let’s say right away that our Sun will most likely literally come hurled into a new region of our galaxy, but the Earth, and the solar system in general, are in no danger of being destroyed. Astronomers talk about a head-on collision with Andromeda. The galaxy, 2.5 million light years away, is moving ever faster towards the Milky Way thanks to mutual gravitational attraction and the invisible dark matter surrounding the two galaxies.
What computer simulations tell us
After nearly a century of theories and studies, we finally have a clearer picture of how events will unfold in the coming years. The scenario, experts say, is like that of a baseball hitter watching an incoming fastball. Even though Andromeda is approaching us 2000 times faster than in the past, they will still take us 4 billion years before it collapses with our galaxy. Among other things, the computer simulations sent to us by the Hubble Space Telescope show that it will take another two billion years after the encounter, before the two galaxies they merge completely. At that point the force of gravity will reshape them into a single, large one elliptical galaxy very similar to those we have already observed in the universe. The first explanation (at the end of the video you will find the simulation):
There will be a collision, sure, but the stars inside them are so distant that they will not collide with each other. However, many stars will literally be thrown into different orbits around the new galactic center. Simulations show that our solar system will be further from the center of the galaxy than it is today.
Source: NASA, imagined in copertina credit NASA; ESA; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Finds; and A. Mellinger
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