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Details on the galaxy crash in our future

  1. May 9, 2007 #1


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    Abraham Loeb is one of the top people in his profession. Interesting that he should be using computer sims to study something very close to home like this.

    The Collision Between The Milky Way And Andromeda
    T.J. Cox, Abraham Loeb (Harvard/CfA)
    submitted to MNRAS

    "We use a N-body/hydrodynamic simulation to forecast the future encounter between the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies, given current observational constraints on their relative distance, relative velocity, and masses. Allowing for a comparable amount of diffuse mass to fill the volume of the Local Group, we find that the two galaxies are likely to collide in a few billion years - within the Sun's lifetime. During the first close encounter of the two galaxies, there is a 12% chance that the Sun will be pulled from its present position and reside in the extended tidal material. After the second close encounter, there is a 30% chance that the Sun will reside in the extended tidal material, and a 2.7% chance that our Sun will be more tightly bound to Andromeda than to the Milky Way. Eventually, after the merger has completed, the Sun is likely to be scattered to the outer halo and reside at much larger radii (>30 kpc). The density profiles of the stars, gas and dark matter in the merger product resemble those of elliptical galaxies. Our Local Group model therefore provides a prototype progenitor of late--forming elliptical galaxies."
  2. jcsd
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