Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 4 Billion Years

Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 4 Billion Years
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 4 Billion Years This is an artist's concept of what our night sky might look like in 4 billion years, after a collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. Click the image for a full 8-image series. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger

Here is the full 8-image series:

Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: Present Day
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: Present Day This is a nighttime view of the current sky, with the bright belt of our Milky Way. The Andromeda galaxy lies 2.5 million light-years away and looks like a faint spindle, several times the diameter of the full Moon. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 2 Billion Years
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 2 Billion Years The disk of the approaching Andromeda galaxy is noticeably larger. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 3.75 Billion Years
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 3.75 Billion Years Andromeda fills the field of view. The Milky Way begins to show distortion due to tidal pull from Andromeda. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 3.85 Billion Years
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 3.85 Billion Years During the first close approach, the sky is ablaze with new star formation, which is evident in a plethora of emission nebulae and open young star clusters. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 3.9 Billion Years
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 3.9 Billion Years During the first close approach, the sky is ablaze with new star formation, which is evident in a plethora of emission nebulae and open young star clusters. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 5.1 Billion Years
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 5.1 Billion Years During the second close passage, the cores of the Milky Way and Andromeda appear as a pair of bright lobes. Star-forming nebulae are much less prominent because the interstellar gas and dust has been significantly decreased by previous bursts of star formation. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 7 Billion Years
Nighttime Sky View of Future Galaxy Merger: 7 Billion Years The merged galaxies form a huge elliptical galaxy, its bright core dominating the nighttime sky. Scoured of dust and gas, the newly merged elliptical galaxy no longer makes stars and no nebulae appear in the sky. The aging starry population is no longer concentrated along a plane, but instead fills an ellipsoidal volume. NASA, ESA, Z. Levay and R. van der Marel (STScI), T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger

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