What effects do the collision of galaxies have on the solar system?

In summary, because planets suffer relativly little disturbance from these collisions, that is, they're not pulled away from their main star, by other massive objects passing nearby, it's unlikely that we'll experience a mass extinction event as a result of the Andromeda galaxy collision.
  • #1
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Because if would seem to me, that planets suffer relativly little disturbance from these collisions, that is, they're not pulled away from their main star, by other massive objects passing nearby. (Or in most cases they're not) During the 4 billion year history of our solar system, the Earth and other planets seem to have remained attached to this system, in which time it would of seen a
few major mergers between galaxies.

What are your thoughts or have you come across anything that supports this theory, or possibly suggests something else?
 
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  • #2
The gravitational pull of other galaxies is billions and billions and billions of times smaller than the gravitational pull of the nearby Sun.

Let's do a simple Newtonian calculation:

This is the force exerted on the Earth by the Sun:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...earth))+/+(1+astronomical+unit)^2&btnG=Search

This is the force exerted by a 100 million solar-mass galaxy, 4 billion light-years away:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...rth))+/+(4+billion+light+years)^2&btnG=Search

Note the exponent. The force due to the Sun is 22 orders of magnitude larger. Also, note that the force exerted on the Earth by the distant galaxy is approximately the same force that a heavy book exerts on a table while resting there. It's insignificant.

- Warren
 
  • #3
And, in case you're talking about galaxies colliding with the Milky Way, you may also be in for a surprise: the average distance between stars doesn't really change that much even when galaxies are colliding. Very few stars every come close enough (while traveling slowly enough) to become gravitationally bound with each other.

- Warren
 
  • #4
I should of been a bit clearer when I said "massive objects passing nearby" I didn't mean the gravitaional pull of a galaxy millions of light years away, but stars, black holes, and other massive objects that would pass close to the solor
system. And yes, I had already known that stars would pass by each other relatively freely during mergers, but on the off chance that one did pass close enough, I thought it was plausible that it could capture planets, until you pointed out the speed difference would make it unlikely.

Thanks
 
  • #5
Sky and Telescope magazine had a pretty good article on our impending collision with Andromeda a few months ago.
 
  • #6
It's worth remembering that even stars in our own Milky Way have non-negligible peculiar velocities (tens of km/s) that can, on rare occasions, bring them close together. Close encounters that would have a noticable effect on planetary orbits are very rare (and may never have happened), but any reasonably close encounter (~0.1 parsec) can cause a disturbance of the outer Oort Cloud, perhaps sending comets into the inner solar system.
 
  • #7
SpaceTiger said:
It's worth remembering that even stars in our own Milky Way have non-negligible peculiar velocities (tens of km/s) that can, on rare occasions, bring them close together. Close encounters that would have a noticable effect on planetary orbits are very rare (and may never have happened), but any reasonably close encounter (~0.1 parsec) can cause a disturbance of the outer Oort Cloud, perhaps sending comets into the inner solar system.

...increasing the probability of mass extinction. Darn.
 
  • #8
Galaxies are pretty diffuse objects when it comes to stellar density. They can pass through each other with little effect on dense objects, like stars and planets. Gas clouds are, however, a different matter. Many cosmologists suspect such collisions play a major role in starbursts.
 

1. What happens to the orbit of our planets when galaxies collide?

When galaxies collide, the gravitational forces between the two can disrupt the orbits of the planets in our solar system. This can cause planets to be flung out of their original orbits or even be ejected from the solar system altogether. However, the chances of this happening are very low as the distances between planets are vast compared to the size of the galaxies colliding.

2. Will the collision of galaxies affect the Earth's climate or weather patterns?

No, the collision of galaxies does not have a direct impact on the Earth's climate or weather patterns. This is because the gravitational forces between galaxies are too weak to significantly affect the Earth's atmosphere. However, the collision may indirectly affect the Earth's climate in the distant future by changing the distribution of stars in the Milky Way, which could potentially affect the amount of cosmic radiation reaching the Earth.

3. Can the collision of galaxies cause the Sun to explode or change in any way?

No, the collision of galaxies does not have a direct impact on the Sun. The Sun is much larger and more massive than any galaxy, so it is unlikely to be significantly affected by a collision. However, the increased gravitational forces from the merging galaxies could potentially disrupt the orbits of the outer planets in our solar system.

4. Are there any potential benefits of galaxies colliding for our solar system?

The collision of galaxies can potentially bring in new gas and dust to our solar system, which can trigger the formation of new stars. This could lead to an increase in the number of stars in our galaxy, potentially increasing the number of habitable planets and the overall diversity of our galaxy.

5. How long will it take for the effects of the collision of galaxies to be seen in our solar system?

The effects of galaxy collisions on our solar system can take millions to billions of years to be seen. This is because the distances between galaxies are vast and the gravitational forces between them are relatively weak. It may take several close encounters or a direct collision for any noticeable changes to occur in our solar system.

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