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back to article Milky Way DOOMED to high-speed smash with Andromeda galaxy

Observations from the Hubble telescope have shown that the Milky Way is on a high-speed collision course with the nearby Andromeda galaxy and the two will merge into a new elliptical system. Andromeda, also called M31, is about the same mass as the Earth's Milky Way and similar in form. Although it's 2.5 million light years away …

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Unhappy

The simulations look impressive

Where do I book my seat?

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Happy

Re: The simulations look impressive

http://alcor.org/

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Happy

Re: The simulations look impressive

"If you've done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe."

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Anonymous Coward

Oh it's the end of the world as we know it.......

Chances are the human race will be extinct by then anyway.

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Happy

@Alcor

I prefer Aubrey de Grey - both roughly equally unlikely to work.

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Facepalm

Dunno why you got downvoted there.

Because even if there is still intelligent life left on Earth even in a billion years time, it wont be Homo Sapiens.

I'm always amazed when folks say "oh I wonder what the world will be like for humans in a million years time?"

Kind of dusty and museum like I reckon!

Humans will inherit the stars? Utter Cobblers!

Maybe a few Creationists around with their heads in the sand downvoting?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dunno why you got downvoted there.

Which is doubly funny since most creationists don't count on humanity (or the world) being here much beyond the second comming (or was it the third?) which is supposedly real soon now.

Just the intellectually stunted types that can't imagine the universe being able to go on without them (or their descendents) in it.

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Re: The simulations look impressive

Speaking of which, if The Milky Way is moving out of the way, why would the Vogons want to destroy earth? Surely they'd go after Uranus or Venus instead?

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Re: The simulations look impressive

You've already got one, right at the front. We're all doomed Captain Mainwaring

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Coat

Re: The simulations look impressive

"why would the Vogons want to destroy earth?"

Because the plans have all be passed, and all the forms completed, buried in peat etc. Can't change it now, its Orders, more than my job's worth...

The one with the poetry book in the pocket.

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Boffin

Re: Vogons

Plan is plans

You don't become interstellar highway engineers by thinking for yourself.

If it says here that Earth's got to go then that's it.

Demolish it before the squatters move in.

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Alien

Re: Vogons

The squatters HAVE already moved in. - Have you been to the UK recently?

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WTF?

I'm so confused

Isn't there something about the notion that the universe is still expanding having been confirmed by observations of galaxies moving away from us - something like dots on a balloon expanding and therefore the dots getting further and further away from each other - at the speed at which the universe is expanding.

Then how do the galaxies collide? Is it like dots on an expanding balloon, all moving on the surface as well? And if so, how the heck did we get the above mentioned proof of the universe still expanding?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm so confused

Galaxies are moving away from each other, though often in groups. Our group is called the Local Group, since it's a local group for local galaxies. Within a group, galaxies can collide. Galaxies in different groups won't, since the groups are moving away from each other.

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Galaxies in clusters

Milky way, Andromeda and about 50 small satellite galaxies make up the local group. These are all so close together that their gravitational fields affect each other. The local group is part of a cluster of groups of galaxies. There are many clusters of groups. Galaxies inside a group orbit the centre of mass of the group. The distance between clusters increases with the expansion of the universe.

Take a look at the diagram at the end of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Group

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Re: I'm so confused

Yes, in addition to the space itself expanding, the galaxies move within it. Andromeda galaxy is too close to us for the expansion of space to matter too much (it contributes about 70km/s to its speed). The proof of expansion comes from observations of galaxies that are about 1000x times as far, and thus the expansion of space affects their distance from us about 1000x as much.

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Boffin

Re: I'm so confused

I'm not an astronomer, so the following is probably not at all what happens out there in the universe:

imagine a fireworks rocket. It goes up, and explodes into several sparkly bits. These (ignoring gravity and air resistance) fly out from the original explosion point, and would never meet as long as their trajectories don't fold back. But those sparkly bits tend to explode too, throwing stuff out radially from *that* point, and those sparkly remnants may now well be on a collision course with another sparkly bit, or the remnants of its explosion.

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Re: Galaxies in clusters

Thanks for the replies. I knew I could count on the comment section to enlighten me :)

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Re: I'm so confused

> imagine a fireworks rocket.

Geometrically more correct is the expanding balloon with bits on it can move around and attract each other. Some will collide, some won't get the chance. Also, as the balloon is expanding more and more quickly and lightspeed is max speed, every bit will at some point in time be a lonely spec of solitude on an outrushing surface.

Penrose had some idea that if you magically get rid of the rest mass of the lonely wandering particles, a simple conformal geometrical transformation shows that a very-far-future, very-large, very-empty, very-much-nothing-happening-anymore universe actually looks like a very-small, very-dense, very-young, very-active universe. Like a russian doll. But this still needs some work.

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Re: Galaxies in clusters

Space is big. If you think that going to the shops in Andromeda is a very long way, then you simply don't appreciate how big space really is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Penrose had some idea"

Penrose has no effin idea whatsoever.

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Happy

"Our group is called the Local Group, since it's a local group for local galaxies.

As contrasted to Local Group, the author of dull and illiterate comments at this very forum.

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Re: I'm so confused

"Local Group" - its no wonder we've not been visited by aliens when we persist in such parochial terminology!

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Joke

Re: "Our group is called the Local Group, since it's a local group for local galaxies.

> a local group for local galaxies.

Sounds like some kind of weird political slogan.

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""Local Group" - its no wonder we've not been visited by aliens.

We should have just called it "The Band". The aliens would have come for that.

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Re: Eric Idle

The Galaxy Song explains it all

(about time it was in the national curriculum)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "... a local group for local galaxies.

" some kind of weird political slogan"

Was thinking it sounded more like a pitch for an online dating website.

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Re: I'm so confused

"Geometrically more correct is the expanding balloon"

It seems to me that the geometry of space is completely unknown. We're not even quite sure just how many spatial dimensions there are.

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Coat

Nah, that would have been

«a local grope for local galaxies»....

Henri

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Happy

Milky Way

The galaxy you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite.

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Joke

> The night sky will certainly be different

What? You mean there'll no longer be a diffuse orange glow all but obscuring a handful of points of light?

That's a sad joke icon by the way.

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Alien

We need to name this future galaxy

I propose a poll for naming the new merged galaxy. Aside from Andromeda Way and Milkymeda, what shall we name it? How about El Regulus or Alpha Vulturus?

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Re: We need to name this future galaxy

Mr Wilson

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FAIL

Re: We need to name this future galaxy

Simple - it must be a COALITION galaxy - wandering about in the universe, not doing very much and bumping into others whereupon they cause chaos.

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Re: We need to name this future galaxy

Actually, I like "Milkymeda"!

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Re: We need to name this future galaxy

"Mr. Wilson"

Why should it be Mr. WIlson? Surely the collision was caused by Dennis (th menace). I say we name it Dennis.

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Mushroom

Have you been in an accident that wasn't you fault?

Have you been injured by an uninsured galaxy? We can help you get the compensation YOU deserve!!!

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Re: Have you been in an accident that wasn't you fault?

Nah, just clamp it.

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Joke

Re: Have you been in an accident that wasn't you fault?

I don't fancy filling out the insurance claim form.

"It came out of nowhere guv".

Still, I shouldnt' worry, one of our many appointed gods will come out of the heaven's and save us. Or something.

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That would be amazing to see. It's also worth noting that it is no reason to suspect the demise of the galaxy or the starts in it. Most of the stars will pass by relatively distant from each other. Depending on how the galaxies collide, they will pass through each other (with relatively little casualties) or merge into one (again with small effects to individual stars).

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Meh

dont bet on it

colliding galaxies are noticable due to the massive star formation triggered by colliding gas clouds. Many of these stars are large and go supernova. This tends to stuff up the view of the city lights and smog. The chances of being in the kill zone of a supernova are higher than in an undisturbed spiral.

So the Mayans were only off by 4 billion years ??

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Meh

Two things

One, they're estimating it's 4 billion years away. Considering we've not been on this planet a million years, I won't hold my breath. And, secondly, El Reg, the Caps Lock key is on the left. You may want to oil that puppy. It seem to get stuck a lot when you're writing your headlines.

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Boffin

No problem

By that time we'll be able to get to the galactic centre and lob stars into the black hole. Fire up a jet along the galactic axis, and make sure it only goes in one direction rather than switching directions as most do. With the reaction from the jet, fly the Milky Way away from the collision.

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Joke

Re: No problem

Do you have a project code for that, yet?

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mtp

Name

In a few billion years those of us in the neo human cluster of the galaxy will be in the "The Windows 20000001 McBreakfast Googleplex" sector.

Actually I take that back. All current mega corps will be long dead but new ones will have formed.

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Anonymous Coward

4 billion years?

I don't think I can wait that long

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Re: 4 billion years?

No worries.

I'll stay and tell you what happened when you come back.

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Coat

Darn. The Milky Way is going to crash into Andromeda.

No point buying a new tablet then...

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