Milky Way–Andromeda collision

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Based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope, Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda galaxy are predicted to distort each other with tidal pull in 3.75 billion years, as shown in this illustration.
Simulation of the collision between the Milky Way and Andrómeda

The collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda will happen about four billion years in the future.[1]

The Andromeda galaxy is approaching the Milky Way at about 110 kilometres per second (68 mi/s) as shown by its blueshift.[2] Until 2012, it was not known whether the possible collision was definitely going to happen or not,[3] because its proper motion was too small to measure.

In 2012, researchers concluded that the collision is sure to happen. They used the Hubble Space Telescope to track the motion of stars in Andromeda between 2002 and 2010 with great accuracy.[2][4] Andromeda's tangential or sideways velocity with respect to the Milky Way was much smaller than the speed of approach. Therefore, it is expected that it will collide with the Milky Way in around 4 billion years.

Such collisions are relatively common. Andromeda, for example, has collided with at least one other galaxy in the past.[5] Several dwarf galaxies such as SagDEG are already colliding with the Milky Way and being merged into it. The Antennae galaxies are an example of two roughly equal spiral galaxies colliding.

References[change | change source]

  1. M31 in the database NED
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cowen, Ron 2012. "Andromeda on collision course with the Milky Way". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2012.10765. 
  3. van der Marel, Roeland P. et al. (2012). "The M31 velocity vector. III. Future Milky Way-M31-M33 orbital evolution, merging, and fate of the Sun". The Astrophysical Journal 753 (9): 1–21. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/753/1/9. 
  4. Sohn S.T; Anderson J. & van der Marel R. 2012. "The M31 velocity vector. I. Hubble Space Telescope proper-motion measurements". The Astrophysical Journal. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/753/1/7. 
  5. "Andromeda involved in galactic collision". MSNB. 2007. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 2014-10-07. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

Other websites[change | change source]