June 1 - The transit of Venus will be transfixing sky-watchers on June 5 and 6 but astronomers at NASA are now looking ahead to a cosmic event of far greater significance. They say they are certain that the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies are headed for a cosmic collision, in about four billion years. Rob Muir reports.
According to astronomers at NASA, there's a cosmic collision coming and there's no way the Milky Way can get out of the way. They say a combination of gravity and the affects of the mysterious force called dark matter are pulling our neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda inexorably closer. Andromeda is now 2.5 million light years away but measurements taken by the Hubble Space Telescope indicate that in about four billion years, the Milky Way and Andromeda will smash into one another, and two billion years later, form a single galaxy. And while, still some distance away from the collison in cosmic terms, the smaller system Triangulam is expected to join the merged galaxy. The scientists say Earth and the solar system are in no danger of being destroyed in the clash as the stars in each galaxy are so far apart but they will be taking up orbit in a new part of space. Rob Muir, Reuters.