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We finally know when our Milky Way will crash into the Andromeda galaxy
Space.com ^ | Feb 8, 2019 | Mike Wall

Posted on 02/12/2019 7:40:13 AM PST by ETL

Our Milky Way galaxy will survive in its current form a bit longer than some astronomers had thought, a new study suggests.

The monster collision between our Milky Way and fellow spiral galaxy Andromeda will occur about 4.5 billion years from now, according to the new research, which is based on observations made by Europe's Gaia spacecraft. Some prominent previous estimates had predicted the crash would happen significantly sooner, in about 3.9 billion years.

"This finding is crucial to our understanding of how galaxies evolve and interact," Gaia project scientist Timo Prusti, who was not involved in the study, said in a statement. [Images: Milky Way Galaxy's Crash with Andromeda]

Gaia launched in December of 2013 to help researchers create the best 3D map of the Milky Way ever constructed. The spacecraft has been precisely monitoring the positions and movements of huge numbers of stars and other cosmic objects; the mission team aims to track more than 1 billion stars by the time Gaia shuts its sharp eyes for good.

Most of the stars Gaia is eyeing are in the Milky Way, but some are in nearby galaxies. In the new study, the researchers tracked a number of stars in our galaxy, in Andromeda (also known as M31) and in the spiral Triangulum (or M33). These neighbor galaxies are within 2.5 million to 3 million light-years of the Milky Way and may be interacting with each other, study team members said.

"We needed to explore the galaxies' motions in 3D to uncover how they have grown and evolved and what creates and influences their features and behavior," lead author Roeland van der Marel, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said in the same statement.

"We were able to do this using the second package of high-quality data released by Gaia," van der Marel added, referring to a haul released in April 2018.

This work allowed the team to determine the rotation rates of both M31 and M33 — something that had never been done before, the researchers said. Using the Gaia-derived findings and analyses of archival information, the study team mapped out how M31 and M33 have moved through space in the past and where they'll likely go over the next few billion years.

The team's models give a later-than-expected date for the Andromeda-Milky Way smashup and also suggest that it will be more of a sideswipe than a head-on collision. (Because the distances between stars are so great, the odds that our own solar system will be disrupted by the merger are very low. But the crash will definitely liven up the night sky for any creatures that are around on Earth 4.5 billion years from now.)

"Gaia was designed primarily for mapping stars within the Milky Way — but this new study shows that the satellite is exceeding expectations and can provide unique insights into the structure and dynamics of galaxies beyond the realm of our own," Prusti said. "The longer [that] Gaia watches the tiny movements of these galaxies across the sky, the more precise our measurements will become."

The new study was published this month in The Astrophysical Journal.

By the way, Andromeda won't be the next galaxy our Milky Way slams into: The Large Magellanic Cloud and Milky Way will merge about 2.5 billion years from now, a recent study suggested.


TOPICS: Astronomy; Chit/Chat; Science
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A view of the Andromeda galaxy, also known as M31, with measurements of the motions of stars within the galaxy.
This spiral galaxy is the nearest large neighbor of our Milky Way

Image result for We finally know when our Milky Way will crash into the Andromeda galaxy
The future orbital trajectories of three spiral galaxies: our Milky Way (blue); Andromeda, also known as M31 (red);
and Triangulum, also known as M33 (green). The Milky Way and Andromeda will collide about 4.5 billion years
from now, a new study based on observations by Europe's Gaia spacecraft suggests

1 posted on 02/12/2019 7:40:13 AM PST by ETL
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To: All
Related image
2 posted on 02/12/2019 7:43:25 AM PST by ETL (Obama-Hillary, REAL Russia collusion! Uranium-One Deal, Missile Defense, Iran Deal, Nukes: Click ETL)
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To: ETL
Seems to me that the headline should read We finally know when our Milky Way will begin to crash into the Andromeda galaxy since the 'collision' will be a multi-hundred million year event.
3 posted on 02/12/2019 7:44:38 AM PST by Yo-Yo ( is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: ETL

Does this mean we’re all gonna die?


4 posted on 02/12/2019 7:45:02 AM PST by DIRTYSECRET (urope. Why do they put up with this.)
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To: ETL

I hope I have time for a second cup of coffee.

I don’t want to be playing bull fighter with some galaxy charging at me unless I’ve had two full cups of coffee.


5 posted on 02/12/2019 7:45:13 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: ETL

Well, there goes the neighborhood....*sigh*


6 posted on 02/12/2019 7:45:16 AM PST by JBW1949 (I'm really PC....PATRIOTICALLY CORRECT!!!!)
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To: ETL
The Milky Way and Andromeda will collide about 4.5 billion years from now...

Set your alarm clocks!

7 posted on 02/12/2019 7:45:42 AM PST by Steely Tom ([Seth Rich] == [the Democrat's John Dean])
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To: ETL
The monster collision between our Milky Way and fellow spiral galaxy Andromeda will occur about 4.5 billion years from now, according to the new research

Well, that's just about the time our Sun will go nova, so it won't make much difference one way or another.............

8 posted on 02/12/2019 7:45:46 AM PST by Red Badger (We are headed for a Civil War. It won't be nice like the last one....................)
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To: All
gifs website
9 posted on 02/12/2019 7:47:01 AM PST by ETL (Obama-Hillary, REAL Russia collusion! Uranium-One Deal, Missile Defense, Iran Deal, Nukes: Click ETL)
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To: ETL

AOC authors a bill to distribute resulting candy bars to needy children..


10 posted on 02/12/2019 7:47:53 AM PST by SGCOS
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To: ETL

11 posted on 02/12/2019 7:48:58 AM PST by seawolf101 (Member LES DEPLORABLES)
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To: Yo-Yo

It won’t really be a ‘crash’ either, just a merging of gravitational forces into another huge galaxy.................


12 posted on 02/12/2019 7:48:59 AM PST by Red Badger (We are headed for a Civil War. It won't be nice like the last one....................)
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To: ETL

I’m busy that week.

Can we reschedule?


13 posted on 02/12/2019 7:49:14 AM PST by occamrzr06
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To: Red Badger
that's just about the time our Sun will go nova

The sun is not expected to go nova. Doesn't have enough mass for that. It will become a red giant, then white dwarf.

14 posted on 02/12/2019 7:49:30 AM PST by ETL (Obama-Hillary, REAL Russia collusion! Uranium-One Deal, Missile Defense, Iran Deal, Nukes: Click ETL)
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To: ETL

Maybe it’ll gain weight as it gets older. I did...................


15 posted on 02/12/2019 7:50:20 AM PST by Red Badger (We are headed for a Civil War. It won't be nice like the last one....................)
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To: ETL
Tonight's feature on Monster Chiller Horror Theater is When Galaxies Collide starring Peter Graves, Julie Adams, Arthur Treacher and Jay Silverheels.


16 posted on 02/12/2019 7:51:47 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: DIRTYSECRET

By that point, either humans will be long gone, or we will be able to move elsewhere.


17 posted on 02/12/2019 7:52:24 AM PST by SauronOfMordor (Socialists want YOUR wealth redistributed, never THEIRS!)
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To: blueunicorn6

My kids are wondering if they need to go to school.


18 posted on 02/12/2019 7:53:33 AM PST by cornfedcowboy
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To: DIRTYSECRET

Does this mean we’re all gonna die?
Yes. Some sooner than others.


19 posted on 02/12/2019 7:54:02 AM PST by spudville
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To: DIRTYSECRET

I’ll wait for AOC’s take on this before I get too concerned. These so called scientists didn’t even take into account man made universal warming.


20 posted on 02/12/2019 7:54:31 AM PST by hardspunned
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