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When Galaxies Collide: The Future of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies When Galaxies Collide: The Future of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galax...

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Tech / Space

When Galaxies Collide: The Future of the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies

photo of Kenneth Chamberlain
June 1, 2012

With the Andromeda galaxy headed on a direct collision course with our own Milky Way, as was announced by NASA on Thursday, should we be worried?

Nope.

Researchers have long known that the two galaxies will collide, but based on observations using the Hubble Space Telescope, they now know precisely how the collision will happen.

 

Although Andromeda is headed toward us at unimaginable speeds, it's still 2.3 million light years away. It will take billions of years to get here. And even when it does, the spaces between stars and planets in both galaxies are so vast that at least our star, the sun, and its solar system shouldn't be subject to any collisions. 

We may get a different neighborhood in the newly combined galaxies, though, as the gravity of both galaxies fling solar systems around. Chances are, we'll be on the edge of the future merged galaxy.

Below is an animation from NASA of how the collision might look over the course of billions of years.

Animation of the Future Collision of the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxies

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