Two galaxies that are some 100 million light-years away are allowing scientists to have a secret impression of the Milky Way’s fate. The spiral galaxies NGC 5953 and NGC 5954, which are so near that they are classified under a single name, Arp 91. They are in the process of merging, with material from the end spreading towards and into the former. A new Hubble Space Telescope picture shows the details of this merging.
According to the assumptions of these huge cosmic interactions, the two galaxies will finally merge to form one large elliptical galaxy. That is also how astronomers predict the Milky Way to end up when it combines with our nearest galactic neighbor, the spiral galaxy Andromeda. Surprisingly, Hubble just caught an image of one such Seyfert galaxy, which seems to be a giant cosmic eye with a huge core.
A quick scan of the picture shows that because of the powerful gravitational attraction between them, the oval-shaped NGC 5954 is extending its part towards NGC 5954. Scientists think galaxies create parts as a result of their rotation around a central axis and another one known as density waves. These parts are the main point for the formation and look brighter as a result of the stars that live there. Surprisingly, recent research discovered that one of the Milky Way’s arms has been broken.
Throughout fact, galaxy mergers are all over the Universe. Space is huge, and you might think that objects wouldn’t collide all that frequently, yet galaxies aren’t just floating in space. They’re frequently merging by immense parts of intergalactic gas, which can function as matter roadways, drawing galaxies together across the passage.
Many such galactic collisions have been observed, but because they occur across a billion years, anyone collision will not disclose the full process. Each one, however, represents a picture of a single point in the process; by examining the collisions together, we can piece together the sequence of events, as seen in the 2016 simulation.
Arp 91 is at a point where the two galaxies’ spiral structures are still mostly not damaged. Their contact, however, has released the power of star formation in both galaxies, as inflowing gas creates shocks in clouds of molecular star-forming gas, forcing it into tighter clusters that fall under their mass to produce small stars.
Furthermore, both galaxies contain active galactic nuclei, which means that the supermassive black holes at their cores are continually pulling matter. This process creates huge black hole winds that go out into the surrounding gas, causing shocks that start the star formation. As a result, the two galaxies are extremely packed.
The two will ultimately merge, with their spiral structures melting into a brilliant kind of galaxy known as an elliptical galaxy. That is, however, at least a few hundred million years in the future. It’s questionable if humanity will be around to observe it.
The merging of the Milky Way and Andromeda is considerably more complicated. Scientists estimate that it will begin approximately 4.5 billion years from now. However, we have no cause for concern; by that time, mankind will most probably be extinct, or unrecognizable.