The Beautiful Galaxy That Will Collide With Us In Four Billion Years

In four billion years, Andromeda will collide with the Milky Way. That will be an amazing view -- but until then we have to look at it from a distance. This new photo by the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory shows a beautiful view.

From NASA:

The glow seen here comes from the longer-wavelength, or far, end of the infrared spectrum, giving astronomers the chance to identify the very coldest dust in our galactic neighbour. These light wavelengths span from 250 to 500 microns, which are a quarter to half of a millimetre in size. Herschel's ability to detect the light allows astronomers to see clouds of dust at temperatures of only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. These clouds are dark and opaque at shorter wavelengths. The Herschel view also highlights spokes of dust between the concentric rings.

I just can look at these space images all day long. [NASA]

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    Are they sure its not only 2 billion years away? I wish I was the person who gave the rough guesses on time frames in history and the future. Yeah the dinosaurs died out about 80 million years ago, give or take a few million years. Oh and the galaxy is going to collide in about a few billion years.

      Yeah, like I was watching this show the other day about something happening with a meteor hitting Earth, and the narrator was like "It happened 140 million to 260 million years ago."
      We're talking a discrepancy of about 120 million years here, not a few hundred. It's the most vague of sciences.

      Where did you get 2 billion from? 4 billion is a close approximation, based on its distance from the milky way and its rate of approach, which in turn is measured by the blue shift in its emmited light.

      And the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, give or take a million years.
      Are you a Christian by any chance?

        Give or take a million years hahahahah good one, you've totally disproved my point. It's a good thing you corrected me cos I was way off ay

        Last edited 31/01/13 9:12 pm

          I'm not sure what your point is or how I'm supposed to disprove it. When you're talking about such vast time scales accuracy is relative. One million is only a margin of error of 1.5% of the sixty five million years we're talking about. Its the same as being off by a day when trying to remember a date two months ago.

          If you're suggesting that because palaeontologists can't pinpoint that asteroid strike down to a completely precise date, say Tuesday the 8th of March 64 897 569 BC, that this then invalidates it as a theory, then you are fool.

    Collide is an interesting choice of words. I saw a simulation which showed that very little matter is likely to interact because galaxies have such a low density. More like a galactic drive-by where we swap a few stars.

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