Galactic mashup

Save the date: The Milky Way will merge with its nearest large neighbor in about 4 billion years

By Stephen Ornes, 11:15 AM June 18, 2012

The Andromeda galaxy, our nearest large galactic neighbor, is headed straight for the Milky Way, our home galaxy. The collision is inevitable. But don’t worry, you won’t be around to see it.

Gravity pulls Andromeda toward the Milky Way at a brisk 250,000 miles per hour (or roughly 400,000 kilometers per hour). That’s fast enough to get from Earth to the moon in about an hour. But even at that speed, the galactic merger won’t occur for another 4 billion years.

The cosmic forecast was issu...

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