October 29, 2021

The Merger Of Andromeda And The Milky Way That Will End Both Galaxies Has Already Begun

Hubble Discovered That The Collision Between Andromeda And The Milky Way That Will Form A New Giant Galaxy Began Much Earlier Than Expected.

Although the future of humanity is uncertain and is in constant construction, the path that the Milky Way will follow is already written: our galaxy will disappear once it collides with Andromeda , its neighboring galaxy.

And it is not a question of a divine design, but of the gravitational attraction between both structures that causes an approximation of 400 thousand kilometres per hour , imperceptible on a human scale, but decisive in the evolution of both galaxies and all the bodies that are part of them long term.

The collision will occur in 4 billion years and is inevitable . Andromeda is rushing towards the Milky Way in a straight line and gravity will eventually merge the two and give shape to a new giant elliptical galaxy, which will completely change the Local Group , the cosmic neighborhood of which the Solar System is part.

Although this event is considered an imponderable one of astronomical dimensions in which humanity has no influence whatsoever, a new observation from the Hubble Space Telescope confirmed that to the surprise of astronomers, the deadly dance between the Milky Way and Andromeda has already begun .

This is what the collision between the two galaxies would look like in 4 billion years. Photo: NASA; THAT; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Hallas; and A. Mellinger

After mapping the halo that surrounds Andromeda, defined by NASA as an “immense envelope of gas” that surrounds the galaxy, scientists discovered that it is much wider than previously believed , to the degree that in some points, it has already begun to merge with the halo of the Milky Way:

“Scientists Were Surprised To Discover That This Faint And Almost Invisible Halo Of Diffuse Plasma Extends 1.3 Million Light Years From The Galaxy, About Half Our Milky Way, And Up To 2 Million Light Years In Some Directions. . This Means That The Andromeda Halo Is Already Colliding With The Halo Of Our Own Galaxy ”, Explains Nasa .

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The discovery was made possible thanks to the AMIGA (Andromeda Ionized Gas Absorption Map) project that took as a reference the light absorbed by the halo of 43 scattered quasars behind it and through a Hubble instrument specialized in Spectrography, detected ionized gas of carbon, silicon and oxygen in ultraviolet light .This research is the first to learn more about the dynamics and composition of the gas halos that surround galaxies and due to their distance and magnitude, it could only be as complete by analyzing Andromeda , known as M31 in the Messier catalog.

This is what the Andromeda halo would look like if it were visible from Earth. Photo: NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale and E. Wheatley (STScI) and Z. Levay

Because we are part of one of its spiral arms, it is difficult to know in detail the dimension of the Milky Way’s halo , astronomers consider that it behaves in a similar way and therefore, it is possible to say that the collision between both galaxies is in course:

“Because we live inside the Milky Way, scientists cannot easily interpret the signature of our own galaxy’s halo. However, they believe that the halos of Andromeda and the Milky Way must be very similar, since these two galaxies are quite similar. The two galaxies are on a collision course and will merge to form a giant elliptical galaxy about 4 billion years from now, ”NASA noted.