Here it comes …

In four billion years we’re due for a collision with this thing —


(Image link via Phil Plait.)

Added zoom available here.

ADDED: The action video (via Mr. Archenemy). It looks quite a bit more calamitous than I had expected.

ADDED: Galaxies are cosmic tiddlers.

September 3, 2014admin 7 Comments »


7 Responses to this entry

  • Hattori Says:

    Have you ever tried Space Engine? It’s a pretty amazing app that lets you travel through a procedurally generated universe with fantastic graphics and scales down to a lot of detail.
    It’s quite heavy though.


    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 1:11 am Reply | Quote
  • vxxc2014 Says:

    I will be taking any counsel on patience with more astronomical sized grains of salt.


    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 2:08 am Reply | Quote
  • Mr. Archenemy Says:

    I wonder how calamitous it would actually be on our scale – is anything happening other than stars are having their orbits temporarily disrupted very very very slowly? If humanity had emerged mid-collision, would we even notice anything was happening?


    Alrenous Reply:

    The idea that molecules are mostly empty space is pretty well BS. However, galaxies really are mostly empty. Possibly more so than atoms, though I’m too lazy to do the math. The galaxy scale structure gets comprehensively disrupted but actual collisions / stray planet events would be extraordinarily rare.


    Erik Reply:

    I read an estimate that there will be approximately six collisions of individual (pairs of) stars during the galactic collision.


    admin Reply:

    I’ve seen similar things, and (as Alrenous reminds us), galaxies are mostly emptiness, Still, it’s hard to intuitively square this with the incredible video simulation — which seems to rip both galaxies apart during multiple smash ups, utterly devastate the integrity of each, and strew them violently across vast tracts of space.


    John Hannon Reply:

    The real shock and awe will involve the collision of the central supermassive black holes within each galaxy. Indeed, if Penrose is correct, such an event will be so extraordinarily powerful as to leave an impression in the cosmic background radiation of the next universe in the cycle after this one –

    Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 2:29 am Reply | Quote

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