Of the many astronomical wonders that could happen to us in the future, a collision between galaxies seems to be ‘Star Wars’ turned real! In recent research, the findings imply that within two billion years, the Milky Way Galaxy would be colliding with the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). This comes as a stark contrast to the previous estimates made by scientists about the time for the collision between Milky Way and neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, which was eight billion years.
Astrophysicists led the research at the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University. The researchers worked in unison with the University of Helsinki in Finland. This research was conducted by using data from the EAGLE Project. The EAGLE Project is a comprehensive computer simulation designed for understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies by using physical infrastructure that includes the world’s largest supercomputers. The findings of the research were published in the ‘Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society’ journal on January 4, 2019.
According to the researchers, the overall conclusion implies that even though the collision would not have any influence on life on Earth, it would most probably send our solar system hurtling into space. The dormant supermassive black hole at the center of Milky Way galaxy is most likely to be activated as a result of the collision with LMC. This black hole would draw in the surrounding gas and increase in size alongside throwing off high energy radiation.
Lead author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, Dr. Marius Cautun, stated that two billion years could appear to be a substantially long period when considered concerning human lifetime. However, two billion years is a notably shorter time in case of cosmic timescales. Other researchers involved in the study such as Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology, Professor Carlos Frenk and Dr. Alis Deason of the Institute for Computational Cosmology also pointed out that this event would be the outcome of the evolutionary process of the universe.