The space butterfly generated by the collision of two galaxies reveals the tragic fate of the Milky Way
The Gemini North Telescope by NOIRLab He achieved a spectacular image of the collision of two galaxies that generated a space butterfly or cosmic butterfly, but beyond how beautiful the photograph is, it represents the tragic fate of the Milky Way.
The galaxies NGC 4568 and NGC 4567 were those observed in the process of collision and fusion. The two are 20,000 light years apart.in theory close, and are about to enter a destructive phase of fusion.
They are 60 million light years away from Earth.towards the constellation of Virgo, and both are spiral galaxies like our Milky Way.
In the depths of space, entire galaxies can collide, by destruction or creation, as they can interact to create pockets of intense star formation as they merge. This is a slow process, which can occur over millions of years, so astronomers can detect these mergers as they occur.
“This new image captured by the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii reveals a pair of interacting spiral galaxies, NGC 4568 and NGC 4567, as they begin to collide and merge.”, wrote the Twitter account of the Gemino Observatory about the photo of the space butterfly.
The tragic fate of the Milky Way
NOIRLab also notes that this process is similar to what will eventually happen to the Milky Way when the nearby Andromeda galaxy collides with our home galaxy in about 4 billion years.
As the galaxies NGC 4568 and NGC 4567 get closer, the huge gravitational forces involved in the merger will begin to distort their shapes, stretching out parts and triggering bursts of star formation.
Therefore, astronomers believe that something similar could happen with the Milky Waywhen it collides with the andromeda galaxy.
Since 2012, experts have predicted this collision, since the huge halo that surrounds Andromeda is starting to contact with the halo of our galaxy. There is still a long way to go, but the fate of the Milky Way seems to be written.