Future. Not ours.


Ever asked what night sky photographs will look like over the next 7 billion years?

Our Milky Way galaxy. TODAY.
Our Milky Way galaxy. TODAY.

NASA astronomers announced that they are certain that our galaxy is on an unavoidable collision course with the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest spiral galaxy to us. The Andromeda Galaxy is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, the Triangulum Galaxy, and about 30 other smaller galaxies.

Don’t worry though, it won’t be happening for another 3.5 billion years or so. What’s interesting is that the collision will drastically change what our night sky looks like, and the astronomers released a series of photo illustrations showing what future astro-photographers will be shooting when they point their cameras at the heavens.

The Andromeda Galaxy as seen by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
The Andromeda Galaxy as seen by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

In about 3.75 billion years, Andromeda will be close enough to us that it begins to dominate the night sky, this is how will look like:

galaxies

Over 3.75 billion years. We will see Andromeda approaching Milky Way galaxy.

As the galaxies collide, the sky will be filled with “star fireworks” — the formation of new stars:

Galaxy collides
Inevitably galaxies collide. Formation of a new stars.

In 4 billion years, the two galaxies will begin warping one another, causing them to have a funhouse mirror look in the sky:

Over 4 billion years. Warping one another because of gravity pull of the super-massive black holes in their centers.
Over 4 billion years. Warping one another because of gravity pull of the super-massive black holes in their centers.

At about 7 billion years, things will begin settling down. The two galaxies will form a new giant elliptical galaxy, with a single bright core filling up our nighttime sky. So will end up with this very bright core and night as we know it, will gone, because we will have very much light in the nighttime.

End up with a very bright core.
End up with a very bright core.

But don’t worry, the life on Earth will be gone till then, because our Sun have “fuel” only for about 500 million years from now, so it will no longer “heat” the Earth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s