Tags: andromeda | milky way | collision

Andromeda, Milky Way Galaxies Sized Up for Eventual Collision

Andromeda, Milky Way Galaxies Sized Up for Eventual Collision

Artist’s impression of the predicted merger between the Milky Way, right, and neighboring Andromeda galaxy. (NASA)

By    |   Friday, 16 February 2018 07:14 AM

The Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies are being sized up for their eventual inevitable collision, but don't lose too much sleep over the galactic crash because it won't happen for a few billion years.

The galaxies are roughly two million light years away, which in space terms make them practically next-door neighbors, according to The Conversation, and since both seem to have about the same total mass, which is about 800 billion times of the sun, the collision could end up a tie.

Astronomers once thought Andromeda was as much as three times bigger than the Milky Way, but new research published on Wednesday in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggest that’s not the case, USA Today reported.

University of Western Australia astrophysicist Prajwal Kafle said the new research used a new technique to measure the speed required to escape a galaxy.

"When a rocket is launched into space, it is thrown out with a speed of 11 kilometers per second to overcome the Earth's gravitational pull," Kafle said. "Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is over a trillion times heavier than our tiny planet Earth, so to escape its gravitational pull we have to launch with a speed of 550 kilometers per second.”

"We used this technique to tie down the mass of Andromeda. By examining the orbits of high speed stars, we discovered that this galaxy has far less dark matter than previously thought, and only a third of that uncovered in previous observations."

USA Today reported that while NASA predicts Andromeda and the Milky Way will bump into each other about four billion years from now, their stars are so far apart that it is not likely that those stars will collide with each other.

The space agency said, though, the stars could be pushed into different orbits than what they currently are in as they gather around a new galactic center.

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The Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies are being sized up for their eventual inevitable collision, but don't lose too much sleep over the galactic crash because it won't happen for a few billion years.
andromeda, milky way, collision
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2018-14-16
Friday, 16 February 2018 07:14 AM
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