Astronomers Found Out When Milky Way Will Crash into the Andromeda Galaxy

When Will Milky Way Crash into the Andromeda Galaxy?

Astronomers have revealed one of the most curious facts about the galaxy better to say they discover when our Milky Way will crash into the Andromeda Galaxy. So according to them, this collusion is going to happen about 4.5 billion years from now, which is based on observations made by Europe’s Gaia spacecraft. There are also some predictions about the collusion as astronomers believe that Milky Way will crash into the Andromeda Galaxy significantly sooner, in about 3.9 billion years.

“This finding is crucial to our understanding of how galaxies evolve and interact,” Gaia project scientist Timo Prusti, who was not involved in the study, said in a statement.

Gaia mission which was launched in 2013 helped to astronomers to create 3D map of the Milky Way ever constructed. Gaia space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA) goal is to measure the positions, distances and motions of stars with unprecedented precision. Mission aims to construct by far the largest 3D space catalog ever made. Many stars Gaia is observing are in the Milky Way, but there are some which is situated in nearby galaxies.

3D image of Gaia spacraft
3D image of Gaia spacraft

In the new study, the researchers tracked a number of stars in our galaxy, in Andromeda and in the spiral Triangulum. These neighbor galaxies are within 2.5 million to 3 million light-years of the Milky Way and may be interacting with each other, study team members said.

“We needed to explore the galaxies’ motions in 3D to uncover how they have grown and evolved and what creates and influences their features and behavior,” lead author Roeland van der Marel, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said in the same statement.

Astronomers Found Out When Milky Way Will Crash into the Andromeda Galaxy
The future orbital trajectories of three spiral galaxies: our Milky Way (blue); Andromeda (red); and Triangulum, (green). The Milky Way and Andromeda will collide about 4.5 billion years from now

“We were able to do this using the second package of high-quality data released by Gaia,” van der Marel added, referring to a haul released in April 2018.

“Gaia was designed primarily for mapping stars within the Milky Way — but this new study shows that the satellite is exceeding expectations and can provide unique insights into the structure and dynamics of galaxies beyond the realm of our own,” Prusti said. “The longer [that] Gaia watches the tiny movements of these galaxies across the sky, the more precise our measurements will become.”

Source; Text; Space.com

Image credit; space.com, Wikipedia