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Our Milky Way is scheduled to collide with the Andromeda galaxy, but a new study observed that much earlier, the collision will be with the Magellanic Cloud. These will be the consequences ...
“The Milky Way is on a collision course with a neighboring galaxy that could launch our Solar System into space. The Large Magellanic Cloud could impact our galaxy in 2 billion years ", highlighted the University of Hurban on January 4 in a publication in
Montly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society magazine.
In the words of Marius Cautun, who has directed the work, “Although 2 billion years may seem like an eternity compared to a human lifetime, on cosmic timescales it is actually a very short period.
"This galactic collision would occur long before the expected impact between the Milky Way and another neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, which scientists say will reach our galaxy in 8 billion years", was the conclusion of the study led by Marius Cautum, fellow postdoctoral at the Institute of Computational Cosmology of the university. .
Recent observations indicate that the Milky Way is atypical: it has a supermassive black hole smaller than the center; it is surrounded by a very low mass, excessively metal-poor stellar halo and has an unusually large nearby satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, "said astronomer Cautum.
Cautum's team foresees that this catastrophic collision will restore the Milky Way to its normal spiral shape.
“The union with the Large Magellanic Cloud could awaken the dormant black hole in our galaxy, which would begin to devour the surrounding gas and increase in size up to ten times. As it feeds, the now active black hole would spew high-energy radiation, ”says the University report.
Although life on Earth is probably not affected at all, the researchers say there is a small chance that the initial collision could send our Solar System into space.
"At the end of this exceptional event, the Milky Way will become a true reference point for spiral galaxies, at least temporarily," concludes the study.
A new visitor
The Large Magellanic Cloud entered our neighborhood about 1.5 billion years ago according to scientists.
It is located about 163,000 light years from our galaxy, moves very fast, and is the brightest satellite galaxy.
Consequences for the solar system
"The Large Magellanic Cloud is rapidly losing energy and is doomed to crash."
"There is a small possibility that we cannot escape unscathed from the collision between the two galaxies, which could take us out of the Milky Way and into space," says Dr. Marius Cautun.
According to, the catastrophic merger with the Large Magellanic Cloud could "wake up" Sagittarius A *, the supermassive black hole that sleeps in the center of our galaxy, which would begin to devour everything around it and could increase up to ten times its size. At present, Sagittarius A * has a mass equivalent to that of four million suns.
A great show
According to the researchers,the collision between the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Milky Way will be spectacular. In the words of Carlos Frenk, director of the Institute of Computational Cosmology at Durham University and co-author of the study, “As beautiful as it is, our Universe is constantly evolving through very violent events, such as the next collision with the Large Cloud of Magellan".
“Unless major disasters occur,” Frenk continues, “like a major disturbance to the Solar System, our descendants, if there are any by then, will be faced with a spectacular display of cosmic fireworks as the newly awakened supermassive black hole of the Earth. center of our galaxy begins to emit huge and bright jets of extremely energetic radiation.
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