The Art and Science of Colliding Galaxies

Seth Jarvis
In several billion years the galaxy we live in, the Milky Way Galaxy, will collide with our nearest neighboring galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy.  Because the distances between stars in galaxies is huge (dare I say “astronomical?”), the chances of actual collisions between stars are virtually nil.  However, the gravitational effects of the two galaxies merging will be extremely powerful and will violently change the shapes of both galaxies. In this video astronomers have used supercomputers to simulate what a galactic collision will look like, and have rotated the animation so that you can compare the simulation with actual images of colliding galaxies that we observe with the Hubble Space Telescope.

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