Monday, 25 March, 2019

Milky Way on Collision Course With Large Magellanic Cloud

Milky Way over the Radar memorial at St Aldhelm's Head Dorset Milky Way over the Radar memorial at St Aldhelm's Head Dorset Credit
Cary Marshall | 06 January, 2019, 08:26

"This phenomenon will generate powerful jets of high-energy radiation emanating from just outside the black hole", Cautun added. "While this will not affect our solar system, there is a small chance that we might not escape unscathed from the collision between the two galaxies which could knock us out of the Milky Way and into interstellar space".

Consider that a blessing in disguise: The display expected by astrophysicists at Durham University in the United Kingdom will only come as a nearby galaxy smashes into our own in about 2 billion years.

The research report published in the journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, revealed that this cosmic collision will create real havoc on our galaxy.

Astronomers also believe that a collision will trigger the Milky Way's enormous dormant black hole, which would then begin to feed on nearby gas as it grows larger.

A neighbouring galaxy is hurtling towards the Milky Way on a collision course which could shift Earth outside the Goldilocks zone, making it too hot or too cold for life, scientists have warned.

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They orbit the Milky Way once every 1,500 million years and each other once every 900 million years. The event isn't expected to take place for another 2.5 billion years or so, and if mankind hasn't already turned Earth into an uninhabitable wasteland on its own, we'll surely have had long enough to come up with an exit strategy if one is needed. Computer simulations show that a smaller satellite galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud is now orbiting the Milky Way but will eventually change course and slam into its larger counterpart, reports the Guardian via a new study. It sits about 163,000 light years from the Milky Way. New calculations suggest it has twice as much dark matter as previously thought and that all that previously undetected mass could mean it's slowing down and will be unable to escape the gravitational pull of the Milky Way. However, that's about to change, and computer models suggest that the LMC will eventually collide with our galaxy in a chaotic, swirling mess that might even throw our Solar System out into space.

The research team, led by scientists at Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology working with the University of Helsinki, in Finland, used the EAGLE galaxy formation supercomputer simulation to predict the collision.

"The whole of the Milky Way will be shaken", and the supermassive black hole at its center "will gorge on this sudden unexpected abundance of fuel and it will go berserk", says researcher Carlos Frenk.

According to researchers, however, the collision between the two galaxies is behind schedule.

"We think that up to now our galaxy has had only a few mergers with very low mass galaxies", said Alis Deason, of Durham University's Institute for Computational Cosmology.

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