According to a new scientific study, a nearby Galaxy (no, not Andromeda) is set to collide with the Milky Way in the distant future.
And while the cosmic collision will cause ‘galactic fireworks’, this cataclysmic event won’t happen anytime soon, as scientists say it would occur in around 2.5 billion years, reports the Guardian.
The discovery was made after astronomer ran computer simulations on the position and transition of the Large Magellanic Cloud, or LMC, one of the many orbiting Galaxies near the Milky Way.
Experts say that rather than orbiting the Milky Way at a safe distance, the LMC is destined to crash into the milky way in the distant future.
Previous studies have shown that the Milky Way’s Galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, a spiral galaxy 2.5 million light-years away, could collide in about eight million years with the Milky Way.
“The LMC is big but it won’t completely destroy our galaxy,” scientists explained.
“It’ll produce these amazing fireworks, but it doesn’t have the mass to create a huge disturbance. The collision with Andromeda really will be Armageddon. That really will be the end of the Milky Way as we know it.”
But scientists at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and colleagues of the University of Helsinki in Finland believe that the LMC, a much smaller galaxy is heading our way, and will collide with the Milky Way, setting off a cosmic firework spectacle.
Scientists used the EAGLE galaxy formation supercomputer simulation was used to predict the collision.
“While two billion years is an extremely long time compared to a human lifetime, it is a very short time on cosmic timescales,” explained lead author Dr. Marius Cautun, a postdoctoral fellow in Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology.
“The destruction of the LMC, as it is devoured by the Milky Way, will wreak havoc with our galaxy, waking up the black hole that lives at its center and turning our galaxy into an ‘active galactic nucleus’ or quasar.”
Their study “The Aftermath of the Great Collision Between Our Galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud” was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
“There is a small chance that we might not escape unscathed from the collision between the two galaxies, which could knock us out of the Milky Way and into interstellar space.”