Universe  ID: 30955

Crash of the Titans: Milky Way & Andromeda Collision

The three largest galaxies in our Local Group of Galaxies are our Milky Way along with the Andromeda (also known as Messier 31) and Triangulum (also known as Messier 33) galaxies. This scientific visualization of a computer simulation depicts their joint evolution over the next several billion years and features the inevitable massive collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda.

Hubble Space Telescope observations indicate that the two galaxies, pulled together by their mutual gravity, will crash together in a head-on collision about 4 billion years from now. The thin disk shapes of these spiral galaxies are strongly distorted and irrevocably transformed by the encounter. Around 6 billion years from now, the two galaxies will merge to form a single elliptical galaxy. The Triangulum galaxy continues to orbit the merged pair through the end of this computer simulation, though other computer models show it becoming part of the collision.

The visualization covers 8.2 billion years into the future at 105 million years per second. Colors are representative: light blue for spiral galaxies (considered "blue" in astronomy parlance because of their active star formation) and orange-yellow for elliptical galaxies (called "red" by astronomers for their old stellar populations). A random background field of galaxies has been added to the simulation in order to indicate the camera motion through the simulation volume.

For More Information

http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2012-20


Credits

Frank Summers (STScI): Lead Visualizer
Gurtina Besla (The University of Arizona): Scientist
Roeland van der Marel (STScI): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
Frank Summers (STScI), Gurtina Besla (Columbia University), and Roeland van der Marel (STScI)

Short URL to share this page:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/30955

Mission:
Hubble

Keywords:
SVS >> Galaxy
SVS >> Milky Way
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Hubble Space Telescope
SVS >> Collision
NASA Science >> Universe
SVS >> Andromeda Galaxy