It’s likely you won’t consider something that should happen some 4 billion years into the future as your particular interest, but this is news that makes numerous Sci-Fi flicks be right. Astronomers with the Hubble Space Telescope say that 4 billion years from now, the Milky Way galaxy will crash into Andromeda galaxy.
Perhaps Hollywood isn’t going to make a flick about the celestial event that will take place so many years into the future, but it’s sure going to become something like the Maya end of the world. On Thursday, experts with the Hubble Space Telescope said that there’s just no way around it: the Milky Way galaxy is set to crash into Andromeda.
Roeland van der Marel, Space Telescope Science Institute astronomer, explains: “Because Andromeda is getting closer to us, astronomers have speculated for a long time whether it might collide with our Milky Way and whether the galaxies might merge together”.
The theory is easy to understand. Andromeda galaxy, otherwise known as Messier 31, is 2.5 million light-years away from our galaxy, the Milky Way. Both galaxies are shaped as a spiral and both are energized by supermassive black holes at their core.
Using Hubble Space Telescope, scientists saw that Andromeda heads our way at 250,000 mph. They were able to measure Andromeda’s tangential motion and rendered a projection of its trajectory over the upcoming billion years.
Within the next 2 billion years, scientists estimate Andromeda and the Milky Way are going to merge into an elliptical galaxy. Roeland van der Marel mentioned there are other galaxies in the close universe “that are in the process of colliding and merging. However, what makes the future merger of the Andromeda galaxy and the Milky Way so special is that it will happen to us”.
Scientists say this isn’t the only merger the Milky Way went through. Johns Hopkins University’s Rosemary Wise believes the estimate is legit. “The Milky Way has had, probably, quite a lot of small, minor mergers. But this major merger will be unprecedented”.
The astronomers don’t seem to be too concerned that the Earth would be somehow affected with the merger in the universe. In fact, the merger of Milky Way and Andromeda is going to incredibly change our sky. Given that our sun is expected to turn into a huge red giant 6 billion from now, the sky on Earth is going to be pretty sensational.