The Day the Sky will Fall - Colliding with the Andromeda Galaxy

Meet Andromeda, a beautiful spiral galaxy (you must see this) bigger than our own, approximately 2 million light-years away. Andromeda is blue-shifted, meaning it’s heading our way, however this does not mean it will definitely collide with our Milky Way, since the galaxy's tangential velocity is unknown. Galaxies colliding is a frequent event within galaxy groups, and there are signs that Andromeda has already swallowed several other galaxies in the past. In Greek mythology, the young princess Andromeda was pretty helpless, needed to be saved by Perseus from the sea monster sent by Posiedon to the coast of Ethiopia. In real life, it seems like this girl can take care of herself pretty well...

If we are on a collision course, this neighbor heading our way at a relative speed of about 140 kilometres per second, should pay us a visit in about 2-3 billion years, even before our sun will start turning into a red giant, boiling our oceans and evaporating our atmosphere in the process. In the aftermath, it is predicted that both galaxies will change beyond recognition, merging to form a new giant elliptical galaxy – sometimes being referred to as the “Milkomeda” galaxy. And what will become of our solar system in the case of a collision? The chances of a physical impact between stars, planets or moons are very low, since the majority of galaxy space is actually empty, but the enormous gravity pull will take its toll for sure. One option is that our solar system will be thrown away to a higher orbit around the new center of Milkomeda. Another option is that we will be totally ejected from the galaxy to drift alone through the vast empty inter-galactic space. Another cheerful option is that we will be thrown toward the core, where a super-massive black hole lurking behind its event horizon will devour us.

No matter how it will end, it will be a spectacular sight to watch. And you thought our current night sky is beautiful… Just think of how it will look in 3 billion years, when Andromeda will stretch its spiral arms to fill the entire black canvas above...

~~~
p.s. If I’ll drop two balls of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, will I be sued for polluting?

39 comments:

Didixi said...

Very interesting blog! And great template!

Uri Kalish said...

10x

:-)

Lumpy said...

Hi! I stopped by to check out your site and loved it! (and the scribe template) Great work!

Scruffyhippo said...

If you drop two balls of different weights from the Tower of Pizza, will you be sued for polluting?

well that depends on what they are made of!

Great post btw :)

Uri Kalish said...

Thanks 4 visiting!

Tatiana said...

Hi Uri, great post, and as to your question if they would fine you for dropping two balls of different weights from the Tower of Pizza, I would say - no, as they do not allow anymore people to climb on the tower :) So why not do it from the Eiffel tower instead?

Uri Kalish said...

Funny you chose the Eiffel Tower... To be honest, my first draft was "If I’ll drop two balls of different weights from the Eiffel Tower, will it stay ugly?", But I wasn't sure how my French readers will react so I changed it.

In Ardua Tendit said...

Did you mean the Tower of Pisa, or is there really a 56m high pile of flat, round bread covered with tomato sauce and cheese somewhere? ;-)

Uri Kalish said...

:-)))

Comic Book Shaman said...

Hi Uri,

Your blog is right up my alley. I enjoyed the Andromeda post very much. What have you written on the subject of Quantum Physics? I'm just a carpenter, but my lifelong attempts to understand the inequality of the sexes seems to lead there.

Love
Comic Book Shaman

Astrona said...

Hi Uri, amazing blog!

Anna said...

Very interesting reading and very nice photo, thanks for sharing. Anna :)

Beaman said...

What wonderful options for our planet and solar system. I really do hope I'll be dead by the end of 3 billion years.

Prudence said...

It would be interesting to see another galaxy swallowing up our own. Would there be fireworks in the night sky? Sadly, however, I won't be around anymore when that happens. If that happens.

Bob Johnson said...

Interesting post!, The Andromeda galaxy is a beauty to behold in the eyepiece of a telescope.

DJ said...

i just came across ur blog and i should say i loved it...
really nice template and excellent contents...
would u mind if i blogroll u?

tc...

Uri Kalish said...

@comic book shaman,
Thanks, I didn’t have the chance to post about quantum physics yet, but I guess the cat cannot stay in the vault for much longer.

@astrona & anna
Thanks for visiting.

@beaman & prudence
I don’t know about you, but I plan to live to see this collision.

@bob johnson
Can you take a picture of Andromeda through your telescope and post it somewhere?

@dj
Residing on your blogroll will be a great honor!

LadyTerri said...

I enjoyed your blog! :)

AntiBarbie said...

I absolutely love the template. It's perfect for your subject matter. I never even thought about galaxies colliding before. What an interesting concept!

yair.h said...

Hi Uri,

I have three comments:

1. Generally speaking galaxies are supposed to run away from each other as the universe currently expands, so this an exception, right?

2. Of-course the colliding itself should take about a million years, right?

3. Very interesting post!!!!

Uri Kalish said...

@ladyterri & antibarbie
Thanks!

@yair
1. Generally speaking you are correct, but galaxy groups are gravitationally-bound objects, and we are on the same group with Andromeda.

2. Yes, you are correct, the merger itself should take a very long time, predicted to last about 1 billion years.

3. :-)

MacKozer said...

I presume there will be no mankind no more at that time. We will be devoured by the "harvester" long before that Milky Way is devoured by Andromeda.

Great post!
Regards!

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Uri, I am not set up for wide angle shots yet, but have taken some pics of the core of Andromeda with my set up and they are on my Flickr account on my blog page, someday I would like to get an 80mm apo refractor to do some wide angle astrophotography, not in the budget yet. Still in the process of learning, just got some nice equipment, now I need some practice.

Catherine said...

Thanks for visiting my site, Uri. I stopped by to visit yours and am very impressed! You've put a lot of work into it and it definitely shows.

jOolian said...

One'ah my fave Word Xpressions... 'We parked in the damm Andromeda Zone!!!arrggh'
Hey, come over and check my Batroom Nebulae.... yeah, we're weird laike dat... HAa agahh!!
!julian

Mike said...

Hello from New York! Boy would I give anything to come back to life then and see what happens.

James Chia said...

I'm also interested in science especially astronomy. great site you have.

Zenia Effenberger Larsen said...

Hi Uri,

As a newcomer to your blog I just want to tell you that my first impressions (both from first and second visit ;)) have been that your blog can teach me several things: both about interesting subject matters, about how to narrate scientific facts into stories that connects them with other form of knowledge, and about how to express academic ideas in a form suitable for weblogs.

At least, that is some of the things that your blog masters, in my humble opinion. :)

Keep up the good work!

James said...

Uri, where did you get that huge photo of the Andromeda Galaxy? What a photo it is. One of my favorite quotes, although I can't remember who originally said it, is, "The human mind and the universe are one, in that they contain each other."
Anyway, just sitting here at work wasting company time in "The Dalles", Oregon USA. Loved your blog.

jpryts
prytsphoto@gmail.com

Uri Kalish said...

@MacKozer,
I guess you’re right…

@Bob Johnson,
Just wandering how do you compensate for the Earth’s rotation on long exposures?

@Catherine,
Thanks!!!

@jOolian,
Dude, your language is quite unique! You should read my pirate motivation speech.

@Mike,
Hello New York!

@James Chia, Zenia Effenberger Larsen & James,
Thanks!!!

Coeli said...

I love your blog so much, I'm adding it to the blogs I regularly visit.

aksn1p3r said...

Scribe is the most artistic I've seen from many-a-template :)

I do love astronomy, Andromeda is intriguing, wish we could fuck off from this earth, cos its being degraded to a mass of CO2 producing rock.

The net has linked us much closer to each other yet we haven't even explored the vast universe out there, am i the only one feeling like this? Yea fuck hollywood celebs, theyre just normal ppl who are stuck on this earth just like us. If u think ur an alien, ur more than human :D

Eternidad said...

I wish I could see it. A good article!

Orangewedge said...

Andromeda was very interesting. I've invested some time into the Seti project and I've always found this interesting. I always wanted to talk to a programmer about super-computing. Is there a program that can be written to harness the CPU's of different networked machines to run a single process on one computer? (You don't have to answer that here =;). Keep up the blog. Good stuff.

Uri Kalish said...

Thank you all for the kind words :)

Uri Kalish said...

@Orangewedge,
Do you mean parallel computing?

Orangewedge said...

I read an article about super computing that mentioned parallel computing. They did it at the University of Kansas. They tapped into all the schools old computers and literally built a supercomputer. It sounded cool and I thought that they had a program written to execute the commands.

Sherer said...

Good stuff

BillyWarhol said...

wow* Amazing*

I'm Happy they're repairing the Hubble Telescope*

;))