When galaxies collide

By Keith Cowing
May 5, 2000
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When galaxies collideThe bad news: our galaxy, the Milky Way, is going to collide with our giant neighbor galaxy, Andromeda. The good news: it won’t really start to happen for several billion years. According to a University of Toronto press release: “the 2.2-million-light-year gap between the Milky Way and Andromeda is closing at about 500,000 kilometres an hour. That pace will quicken as the two galaxies near each other.” No one is quite sure what fate will await Earth as the collision occurs. “Two possible fates await the sun and Earth – we could be flung into the depths of intergalactic space and escape the galaxy forever or hurled into the centre of the merging pair where new stars will be formed.”

Press release and link to an MPEG animation of a galactic collision

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.