Galaxy Collision: Will Milky Way & Andromeda Pass or Collide?

In summary, it is true that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will collide in about 3 billion years, but the spacing between the stars is so great that they will not actually collide. Instead, they will pass through each other with only a handful of stars colliding. However, the shape of the galaxies will be deformed and their centers will eventually combine to form one larger galaxy. The black holes at the center of each galaxy will also merge into a larger black hole. This collision will lead to the formation of new stars as clouds of interstellar medium collide and become unstable.
  • #1
Plasma
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I have heard that in about 3 billion years, the Milky Way will collide with the Andromeda galaxy. I have also heard that they won`t actually collide, because the spacing in between the stars is so great. Instead, they will pass through one another with only a handful of stars colliding. Is this true?
 
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  • #2
The shape of the galaxies will be deformed though. They won't be nice spirals anymore :cry: :tongue:
 
  • #3
I believe their centers will eventually combine and the two galaxies will become one. They won't simply pass through each other and go their separate ways. Consider this simulation, notice how the galactic centers merge.
 
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  • #4
And the black holes at the center of both galaxies (if they really do exist) will merge into a larger black hole. :biggrin:
 
  • #5
Yes, the two galaxies will combine into one larger galaxy but there will be very few actual collisions between the stars. Eventually, they will reach an equilibrium and thus becoming a new, much larger galaxy.
 
  • #6
Also clouds of the interstellar medium will collide and unstabilize leading to star formation. See for example http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/entire_collection/pr1997034b/.
 

1. What is a galaxy collision?

A galaxy collision occurs when two galaxies come into contact and merge together due to their gravitational pull. This process can take millions of years to complete.

2. Will the Milky Way and Andromeda collide?

Yes, according to current research, the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are on a collision course and will eventually merge together.

3. When will the collision occur?

The collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda is estimated to happen in about 4.5 billion years.

4. What will happen to our solar system during the collision?

Our solar system will most likely survive the collision, but it will be significantly affected. The orbits of planets and other celestial bodies may change, and our view of the night sky will be drastically altered.

5. Is there a chance of a catastrophic event during the collision?

No, the distance between stars in galaxies is so vast that the chances of two stars colliding during the merger is extremely low. However, there may be some disruptions and changes in the structure of the galaxies.

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