ScienceCasts: Andromeda vs. the Milky Way: Astronomers Predict a Titanic Collision

[ music ] Andromeda vs. the Milky Way: Astronomers Predict a Titanic Collision – presented by [email protected] Imagine having a galaxy fall on your head- and you survive the experience. NASA astronomers say that’s exactly what’s going to happen to our Milky Way Galaxy approximately 4 billion years from now. New data from the Hubble Space Telescope confirm that the Milky Way is on a collision course with the great Andromeda Galaxy. When the mashup occurs, say researchers, it’s likely the sun will be flung into a new region of our galaxy, but Earth and the solar system are in no danger of being destroyed. ‘After nearly a century of speculation about the future destiny of Andromeda and our Milky Way, we at last have a clear picture of how events will unfold over the coming billions of years,’ says Sangmo Tony Sohn of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. Astronomers have long known that Andromeda and the Milky Way were converging, drawn together by their mutual pull of gravity and an invisible dark matter halo that surrounds them both. But no one knew whether the far-future encounter would be a near miss, a glancing blow, or a head-on smashup. It all depends on the amount of Andromeda’s sideways motion. A lot of sideways motion would allow Andromeda to sail wide of the Milky Way, missing our galaxy entirely; less of it would bring the two galaxies directly together. The Hubble team, led by Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute, conducted extraordinarily precise observations of the sideways motion that removes any doubt: Andromeda is destined to collide directly and merge with the Milky Way. Although the two galaxies will plow into each other, stars inside each galaxy are so far apart that they will not collide individually. Instead, the stars will be thrown into different orbits around a new combined galactic center. Simulations show that our own Sun will probably be tossed much farther from the galactic core than it is today. Team member Gurtina Besla of Columbia University in New York describes what a head-on collision will be like: ‘The stellar populations of both galaxies would be jostled, and the Milky Way will lose its flattened pancake shape. The two galaxies’ cores will merge, and the stars will settle into randomized orbits to create a new elliptical-shaped galaxy.’ To make matters more complicated, Andromeda has a companion, the Triangulum galaxy-also known as ‘M33.’ M33 is a relatively small galaxy, not nearly as large as Andromeda or the Milky Way. Nevertheless, it could play a big role. M33 will join in the collision and perhaps later merge with the Andromeda-Milky Way pair. There is even a small chance that M33 might hit the Milky Way first. Amazingly, Earth and the solar system should emerge from the melee unscathed. We’ll just have a new galactic address and perhaps a night sky with a double helping of stars. It turns out that a galaxy falling on your head isn’t so bad, after all. For more news about cosmic collisions and the future of the Milky Way, visit

  • Promote Cosmology chairs-East West Interaction. The Cosmic function of the Universe-identified through Space Cosmology Vedas interlinks [See Books] will help both STSCI and NASA groups. vidyardhicosology [dot] blogspot [dot] com

  • I don't about any of you – but I will be holding the Galaxies biggest welcome party ever! Everyone is invited. Just give me this code: "JKSFH3Q4F4732V" for free entry in 4 Billion years.

  • STEREO, SMEI, Hubble and many other spacecrafts provide us with data in which we try to predict when for galactic collision. How far back does the data go? Is 50-100 years of data enough to make these types of predictions? What's a few billion years here or there? 🙂

  • wait i thought the the sun starts dieing around 5 million years from now, so how will the earth and our sun be perfectly fine when the galaxies combine 4 billion years from now?

  • Just so that no one starts to worry, we are actually involved in a galactic collision with the Large Magellanic Cloud right now.

  • In 4×10^9 years from now humans will have been long gone on Earth but undoubtedly send out their spores throughout neighbouring planet candidates , like Kepler-22b some 600 light years away, giving new life opportunities there. So perhaps someone somewhere with genes similar to ours will eventually look at the sky and see this magnificent panorama.

  • Whenever celestial bodies are thrown about stuff goes everywhere. I very much doubt anyone can guarantee the the result won't be like in the early days of the solar system when the planets were peppered with interstellar debris. Sure it won't be guaranteed to happen, but my guess is 1/10,000 chance of something fatal, and 1/100 of extinction events. Of course we're more than likely to have suffered some other fate before then.

  • The fusion of the Milky Way with the Andromeda Galaxy would not mean death or destruction for either of the galaxies. The fusion would actually enable nebulas to form many new stars. And… religion sucks. The only religion that has never really caused any problems or death is Buddhism.

  • how can andromeda be flying towards us if huble discovered it was a seperate galaxy (instead of a dust cloud inside the milky way) because of its larger red shift (Doppler-effect). That would mean it's flying away from us, right?

  • Some how it's hard to believe that a cosmic collusion would not effect our solar system, you got to think we are stupid. Anyhow earth probably won't last 4 billion years anyhow.. Why lie?

  • By the time the two galaxies collide, we'll probably be extinct or have evolved into something that is not human.

  • You missed what I said…. We'll more than likely just be able to move the Earth, keeping it within the proper habitable zone in relation to the sun.

  • i think nasa is just sparing the truth, they are hiding that you all are going to explode or be toss into a black hole, idk, something terrible 😛

  • Oh yes NASA are trying to stop mass panic by lying that the Earth will be destroyed 4 billion years from now… I'm so worried myself, I'm going to die by 4 billion years. I always wanted to hit the big 5 billion D:

  • Let's pick one day where everybody goes outside and flaps their arms and we'll move this sucker somewhere else.

  • Galaxies are like 95% empty space. This means two galaxies can go thru eachother without a single star or planet collisions.

  • Imagine the moment when the fading sun can't anymore hold our planets on their orbits. Slightly they get farer and farer until this part of the milky way is just empty space. Quite a scary thought.

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  • Betelgeuse is far enough away that we will only get a snazzy light show and less sleep; it will be like having two sons. However our population would have imploded long before this event takes place.

  • It is predicted the Betelgeuse will Supernova within the next 100 years. If we were within 10 light years away that would be a problem, but since we are over 1300 ly away the chances of a direct blast is less than probable.

    Of course there's a chance it may collapse into a quasar, so that would be a concern but I don't think it's in that mass range.

  • You and squidb8 need to get educated. Betelgeuse is thousands of times larger than our sun and it's not in our solar system, you fool, it's 640 light years away. It could have blown up already but the light hasn't reached us yet, it could be tomorrow or 100 years from now. The light of the nova would be visible for weeks not 200 days. The explosion spreads in all directions. Stars do not collapse into quasars, are you guys for real?! We can't observe the galactic center because of the dust lanes

  • Your first point makes no sense at all unless your talking about the remnants, a white dwarf, black hole or neutron star. The explosion would last about a millionth of a second, we would see the expansion and energy released from that explosion. The brightness of a nova dies out quickly no matter what size the star. Betelgeuse is red because it's running out of nuclear fuel to cause fusion. It starts blowing out it's outer shell of gas and becomes a red giant. I don't pretend to know., I know.

  • Life on earth will be over in 1.5 billion years from now.
    Before sun blows up to a red giant and explode into a white dwarf it will become hotter and hotter until in 1.5 billion years from now- life on earth won´t be possible any more.
    Yes…life on planet earth has 75% of its time-span behind it.

  • In 4 billion years? Earth wouldn't really be affected by the collision. However it also wouldn't have have much time left with the sun being about to die regardless. In a sense, Andromeda colliding with the milky way means we'd have twice as many new places to move to if humanity still exists by then.

  • While the sun will radiate significantly more heat towards Earth, that doesn't mean Earth will automatically become inhabitable as long as we still exist.

    We could set up an anti-greenhouse effect by using haze particles, or set up a soletta at the Earth-Sun L1 point to give our planet some shade. But yes, life on Earth will be done for unless we or some other intelligent civilization will be around to save it.

  • Good point.
    To build some foil-umbrella placed between us and the sun reducing the amount of radiation. One huge one or millions of small ones.Otherwise In 300 million years from now life on earth will only be possible for insects and below. A weird thought to think that earth produced us..maybe right on time to safe itself..taking into account a huge risk that our species is representing on it.

  • Indeed. There's even a backup(Crows & Ravens) which could take over that role in case we kill ourselves off. With maybe half a million years of evolution Crows could probably end up as intelligent as we are now. They're spread out across the world and should be immune to most diseases that could spring up in human biowarfare.

  • or if we are even still on this planet. i believe within maybe even a few thousand years we will start to colonise mars and maybe even be on our way to other solar systems planets to colonise there. it is the only way to survive. the earth is doomed

  • It sure will be a shame when the monetarists defund NASA 🙁 Humans world wide will be thrust back into the modern dark ages. Psychopaths rule the world already, but soon by lack of justice they will destroy all knowledge and get on the future with a rewritten history. Flocks of sheep are the bread and butter of monetarists and their mind controlled consumerism. Science educates the flocks and therefore is a huge threat to the empire. Good bye America 🙁

  • well, considering in the vid it says the sun will be slingshot elsewhere Andromeda's sun may turn into our new sun

  • well no, because in 3 billion years (or less) the Earth and The Solar System won't even be there…

    hate it when different videos forget about other information

  • If the universe is expanding, why are galaxies heading toward each other? Genuine question as I'm not well versed in these matters.

  • Galaxies which are close enough to each other such that they have bigger enough gravitational pull to overcome the repulsive force of expansion, head towards each other. Such is the case for Milky Way and Andromeda. Gravitational force between 2 objects gets weaker 4 times if the distance between them is doubled. So for a pair of galaxies with a much larger distance between them, repulsive force wins and they head away from each other, i.e. the universe expands. Hope this helps.

  • In 4 billion years, the sun would have bloated to most probably a red giant which would have swallowed earth by then. So much for "nothing will happen to earth" 😀

  • would not such an even change our climate or even cause huge mass of body to collide … how can we be so sure when billions of object mash?! what do you mean we will survive it … not that I care, I did be long dead but it don't sound logical. By then human may be space faring anyways…

  • This is speculation and conjecture!  We have never been to the outside of our own galaxy and looked back.  Oh we've seen earth and a few planets, but never to the outside of our galaxy and looked back.  It's going to take 450 billion years for this collision, and I am guessing that the scientist female is at most, no offense 70 years old (probably 40) and she is able to tell how all this colliding is going to take place from her "observation!"  How long has she been observing??? A couple billion years?? Give us a break..stick to science, not speculation!  Now if she is mathematically calculating this occurrence, she has a fifty fifty shot of being right…personally I doubt it, but who knows, I won't be here to find out and none of you either.  But she didn't calculate, she just speculated through observation…10 years 20 years tops! 

  • When you guys go to hell/heaven ,ask God/Satan to let you visit the World during this time period so we can all witness this magnificent collision of beauty, then after youve seen it, go back to being cared/tortured ^.^

  • Skeptics accuse doomsday authors that they milk money from believers with all this 2000,2012 20xx events… while hundreds of millions and more are spent by astronomers and physicists to tell us the world might end in about 4 billion years.

  • Don't worry.  Plant Earth may survive the galactic collision 4 billion years from now.  But we humans, wont last another 100 years, in this rapidly warming Mother Earth…

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