Andromeda Vs. Milky Way - What will really happen when the galaxies collide?
At a distance of 2.5 million light years from the Milky Way, it’s hard to believe that Andromeda is our closest neighbouring galaxy. But despite the huge distance between these two elliptical entities, the Andromeda galaxy is hurtling towards our home galaxy at a speed of roughly 402,000 km per hour right now.
Of course that speed sounds mind-blowing to us here on Earth, but there’s a lot of ground – or more accurately, space – to cover in between the two. This has led scientists to predict that the inevitable collision, which many are calling Milkomeda or Milkdromeda, won’t happen for more than 4 billion years. So we’ve got plenty of time to prepare.
Dr. Karen Masters, a Reader of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth explained: “Andromeda and the Milky Way have been known to be approaching each other ever since radial velocities were first measured for galaxies. Andromeda is one of just a handful of blueshifted galaxies – most have redshifts, which indicates they are moving away from us.”