We interrupt your normal fears and insecurities with a scary story that our best scientists have concluded will take place shortly. That is, if you consider 4-ish billion years from now as “short.”
Truth be told, if it’s going to happen, it has already happened, in God’s time. Anyway, it’s a really neat looking composite artists rendition of the future “Andromeda Way” Galaxy Corp. Don’t worry, as it will truly be a merger of equals. More like a marriage made in heaven. Did I mention that it will take another 2.5 to 3 billion years to consumate? A snap of the finger, literally. The folks at Space.com have the scoop,
Four billion years from now, the Milky Way galaxy as we know it will cease to exist.
Our Milky Way is bound for a head-on collision with the similar-sized Andromeda galaxy, researchers announced today (May 31). Over time, the huge galactic smashup will create an entirely new hybrid galaxy, one likely bearing an elliptical shape rather than the Milky Way’s trademark spiral-armed disk.
“We do know of other galaxies in the local universe around us that are in the process of colliding and merging,” Roeland van der Marel, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, told reporters today. “However, what makes the future merger of the Andromeda galaxy and the Milky Way so special is that it will happen to us.”
Astronomers have long known that the Milky Way and Andromeda, which is also known as M31, are barrelling toward one another at a speed of about 250,000 mph (400,000 kph). They have also long suspected that the two galaxies may slam into each other billions of years down the road.
Go check out the artist renderings in greater detail. After a message from our sponsors, we’ll look into the startling assertion that Galactic Climate Change is the culprit in this cataclysmic event. Stay tuned!