Video shows what will happen when the Milky Way collides with Andromeda in 5 billion years
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Featured Image Credit: SaltyMikan / YouTube
The Andromeda galaxy - the closest neighbour to our Milky Way galaxy - is on course to collide right into us. Great news, right?
But since it won't happen for the next four to five billion years, here's a simulation of what that would look like:
When the Andromeda galaxy eventually reaches our Milky Way, it's going to switch up our solar system in a major way.
Experts are almost certain that the collision will catapult the Sun into a new region of the Milky Way.
Stars, gas, and dark matter will be rearranged and thrown into new orbits on impact and new stars will form.
Neither Earth nor the wider solar system are expected to be destroyed, though they will likely be tossed further from the galactic core than they are now.
Like I said, though. This isn't expected to go down for at least another four billion years, so you and I don't have anything to worry about.
Currently, the Andromeda galaxy is about 2.5 million light-years away.
As you can see in the video, the crash between the two galaxies will also result in the formation of one massive American football-shaped galaxy, which has been nicknamed by some as the Milkomeda.
Catchy, isn't it?
According to NASA, though, it'll likely take an additional two billion years after the collision for the Milky Way and the Andromeda to fully merge together.
NASA first announced the far-future collision back in 2012, thanks to research made through the Hubble Space Telescope.
But as recently as 2020, new research found that the collision has actually already begun.
Each galaxy is essentially coated in a cloud of gas, dust and stars called a 'galactic halo', that's so faint it can hardly be detected at all.
A study published in the Astrophysical Journal found that the Andromeda galaxy's 'galactic halo' stretches very, very far.
So far, in fact, that it's already halfway to our Milky Way galaxy.
It's not as easy to measure the size of the Milky Way's 'galactic halo', but since the Milky Way is so similar in size to Andromeda, scientists have calculated that it probably has a similar sized halo.
If that's the case, it would mean that our galaxy and Andromeda are technically already touching.
The tension is almost too much to bear.