(ORDO NEWS) — At the end of July, we talked about an ancient “zombie galaxy” in which stars stopped forming at an early stage of existence.
Today we will talk about other terrible objects of the Universe, or rather, about the giant “cannibal galaxies.” If the “zombie galaxies” are completely harmless, then the “cannibal galaxies” are real monsters that supposedly exist only for destruction.
The closest “cannibal galaxy” that directly threatens the Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy, about 2.54 million light-years from Earth.
It is no coincidence that we said that it “directly threatens the Milky Way”, because in the distant future there will be a collision of two galaxies.
So why is the Andromeda galaxy considered a “galactic cannibal”? Let’s talk about everything in order.
Brief comparison of Andromeda and the Milky Way
- Andromeda is estimated to be 10 billion years old, while the Milky Way is 13.5 billion years old;
- The diameter of Andromeda is approximately 220,000 light years, which is 2.2 times the diameter of the Milky Way;
- There are about 2.5-5 times more stars in the Andromeda galaxy than in the Milky Way, and this despite the fact that there are about 400 billion of them in our Galaxy.
How did the Andromeda galaxy, which is significantly younger than the Milky Way, managed to grow to such a size? The secret is that from the first days of its existence, it “devoured” nearby small galaxies.
With an increase in size, Andromeda’s appetite also increased: she swallowed up all relatively close galaxies and confidently advanced towards the Milky Way.
Current models say that Andromeda and the Milky Way’s “cosmic rendezvous” is likely to be relatively harmless: the two galaxies will only “scratch” each other a little, swap stars, and drift off in different directions.
Unfortunately, humanity, in the form in which it exists today within the framework of one solar system , will not be able to witness this grandiose event.
The thing is that before the collision of Andromeda and the Milky Way, there are still about 4.5 billion years, and the solar system, most likely, will last less – the Sun, being a star, self-destructs during the natural cycle, destroying everything (well, or almost everything) in own system.
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