Sometime in the far distant future, about 4 billion years from now, our Milky Way galaxy will collide with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, as illustrated in this artist’s rendition.

The universe is expanding and accelerating, and collisions between galaxies in close proximity to each other still happen because they are bound by the gravity of the dark matter surrounding them. The Hubble Space Telescope’s deep views of the universe show such encounters between galaxies were more common in the past when the universe was smaller.

A century ago astronomers did not realize that M31 was a separate galaxy far beyond the stars of the Milky Way. Edwin Hubble measured its vast distance by uncovering a variable star that served as a “milepost marker.”

Hubble went on to discover the expanding universe where galaxies are rushing away from us, but it has long been known that M31 is moving toward the Milky Way at about 250,000 miles per hour. That is fast enough to travel from here to the moon in one hour.

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Image Credit: NASA; ESA; A. Feild and R. van der Marel, STScI


在遥远的未来,约40亿年后的某个时候,我们的银河系将与邻近的仙女座星系相撞,正如这幅艺术家的作品所展示的那样。

宇宙正在膨胀和加速,彼此相邻的星系之间仍会发生碰撞,因为它们受到周围暗物质重力的束缚。哈勃太空望远镜对宇宙的深度观测显示,在过去宇宙还较小的时候,星系之间的这种碰撞更为常见。

一个世纪前,天文学家没有意识到M31是一个远离银河恒星的独立星系。埃德温·哈勃通过发现一颗作为“里程碑”的变星来测量它的巨大距离

正如该艺术家的演绎所示,在距今约40亿年的遥远未来中的某个时候,我们的银河系将与邻近的仙女座系相撞。

宇宙正在膨胀和加速,彼此相邻的星系之间仍会发生碰撞,因为它们受到周围暗物质重力的束缚。哈勃太空望远镜对宇宙的深刻观察表明,过去的宇宙较小时,银河系之间的这种相遇更为普遍。

一个世纪以前,天文学家们还没有意识到M31是一个独立的星系,远远超出了银河系的恒星。埃德温·哈勃(Edwin Hubble)通过发现充当“里程碑标记”的变星,测量了它的广阔距离。

哈勃望远镜继续发现不断膨胀的宇宙,那里的星系正在远离我们,但是人们早就知道M31正以每小时约25万英里的速度向银河系移动。这样的速度足以在一小时内从地球到达月球

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图片来源: NASA; ESA; A. Feild and R. van der Marel, STScI

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