6-8-12: When Galaxies Collide!

June 8, 2012 at 8:02 am Leave a comment

This illustration shows a stage in the predicted merger between our Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, as it will unfold over the next several billion years. In this image, representing Earth’s night sky in 3.75 billion years, Andromeda (left) fills the field of view and begins to distort the Milky Way with tidal pull.
Credit: NASA; ESA; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Hallas; and A. Mellinger

You probably know that our solar system lives within the Milky Way Galaxy. Turns out, that’s only correct for a couple more billion years. Astronomers say that the Milky Way is on a collision course with the nearby Andromeda Galaxy. And eventually, the two galaxies will become one. You can see a video of what NASA thinks will happen here.

Dr. Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute joins us to tell us more.

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