Old 11-15-2017, 12:23 AM   #1
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Default Astronomers Witness Gigantic Galaxy Collision

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Galaxy collisions are the largest and most intricate choreography of matter ever performed in the universe. Billions of stars swirl together and fly apart, supermassive black holes collide and combine, and nebulas of gas collapse into thousands of new stars. It's a dance that takes billions of years to complete, and it's happening thousands of times over all across the universe.

Using the ALMA radio telescope in Chile, scientists have spotted what they believe to be the largest galaxy merger ever discovered. The two galaxies, collectively called ADFS-27, are both incredibly bright and massive, what scientists call 'superluminous starburst galaxies.' They are also ancient, situated 12.7 billion light-years away, making them among the oldest galaxies in the universe.

"Finding just one hyper-luminous starburst galaxy is remarkable in itself. Finding two of these rare galaxies in such close proximity is truly astounding," said Dominik Riechers, lead author of a new study in the Astrophysical Journal. "Considering their extreme distance from Earth and the frenetic star-forming activity inside each, it's possible we may be witnessing the most intense galaxy merger known to date."... More ... (Popular Mechanics/MSN - 14 Nov 2017)

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Astronomers Witness Gigantic Galaxy Collision
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:58 AM   #2
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Default Hubble shows Milky Way is destined for head-on collision with Andromeda galaxy

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NASA astronomers announced Thursday they can now predict with certainty the next major cosmic event to affect our galaxy, sun, and solar system: the titanic collision of our Milky Way galaxy with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy.

The Milky Way is destined to get a major makeover during the encounter, which is predicted to happen four billion years from now. It is likely the sun will be flung into a new region of our galaxy, but our Earth and solar system are in no danger of being destroyed.

"Our findings are statistically consistent with a head-on collision between the Andromeda galaxy and our Milky Way galaxy," said Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore.

The solution came through painstaking NASA Hubble Space Telescope measurements of the motion of Andromeda, which also is known as M31. The galaxy is now 2.5 million light-years away, but it is inexorably falling toward the Milky Way under the mutual pull of gravity between the two galaxies and the invisible dark matter that surrounds them both.

"After nearly a century of speculation about the future destiny of Andromeda and our Milky Way, we at last have a clear picture of how events will unfold over the coming billions of years," said Sangmo Tony Sohn of STScI.
The scenario is like a baseball batter watching an oncoming fastball. Although Andromeda is approaching us more than 2,000 times faster, it will take 4 billion years before the strike.

Computer simulations derived from Hubble's data show that it will take an additional two billion years after the encounter for the interacting galaxies to completely merge under the tug of gravity and reshape into a single elliptical galaxy similar to the kind commonly seen in the local universe... More ... (Phys.org - 31 May 2012)

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BELOW: This illustration shows the collision paths of our Milky Way galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy. The galaxies are moving toward each other under the inexorable pull of gravity between them. Also shown is a smaller galaxy, Triangulum, which may be part of the smashup.

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