June 2nd, 2012 23:26 EST
Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy Predicted to Collide
If your one of these people that are always wondering when the world is going to end, well hold on because NASA has come up with an estimation as to when our Galaxy, the Milky Way and the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy are set to collide. I certainly don`t plan on being here the day these two giants collide like two freight trains jamming at full speed and then suddenly coming to a complete stop, BAM!
The calculation as to when this Astronomical event is scheduled to take place is four-billion years from now. NASA Astronomers from the Hubble Space Telescope had first thought that the Andromeda Galaxy which is slowly coming at us would possibly take a sharp turn in one direction or the other and miss us but now they are sure it will not do this.
"This is pretty violent as things go in the universe," said Roeland van der Marel, an astronomer with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore that operates Hubble. "It`s like a bad car crash in galaxy-land." (nasa.com, 2012)
When these two giants collide scientists are predicting that because of the vast emptiness of these two galaxies our planet Earth should not be hit by flying debris, in this case the flying debris would be stars and planets. At the point of impact the speed of these two galaxies when they collide or merge will be a cool 1.2 million miles an hour and even at that speed this astronomical event will take about 2 billion years to happen.
One this collision happens the atmosphere of our solar system will be a very different site to see. The view from Earth towards the sky will be dramatically changed with the galaxy Andromeda dominating the night sky.
There is a possibility that this collision could be avoided but it would take a different movement and speed. The only way Andromeda could miss colliding with the Milky Way is if it were moving sideways about six times faster than Hubble indicates it is, said van der Marel, who is publishing the latest findings in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal. Five years ago, Avi Loeb, head of Harvard University`s astronomy department, simulated this crash and pronounced a miss unlikely. He said the Hubble results strengthen his earlier findings. He calls the newly merged galaxy "Milkomeda." (nasa.com, 2012)
Both galaxies have about the same characteristics. They are both about the same size and are both ten billion years old. When both galaxies collide, our sun will still have about two-billion years left in it before it retires for good and it is expected to have grown so hot and so large as a result our planet Earth is expected to be very inhabitable without some very super engineering modification and techniques. I don`t think you or I have much to worry about at this point.
Borenstein, S., (2012), When these two Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy to Collide in 4 Billion Years, NASA Says. (www.nasa.com) Retrieved 2012.