Cosmic Collision

Name: _________________________________       Date: _____________

There's no need to start worrying about it just yet. But a few billion years from now, the Milky Way is in for a violent shock. Astronomers say our home galaxy is on a collision course with Andromeda, our nearest galactic neighbor. You'll find out more in this Planet Diary activity.

  1. Go to the Hubble Space Telescope's Cosmic Collision. Select Close Captions On and watch the Introduction. Describe what will happen when the Milky Way and Andromeda collide.
  2. Click Continue Show to the right of Galaxy Evolution. Watch the video. What did John Herschel notice about the night sky in the mid-1800s?
  3. What did Edwin Hubble learn about Andromeda a century later?
  4. What is the "startling conclusion" astronomers reached about how galaxies form?
  5. Click Continue Show to the right of Collision Dynamics. What force drives galaxies into violent cosmic pile-ups?
  6. What will likely happen to our solar system when Andromeda and the Milky Way collide?
  7. Click Continue Show to the left of the Fate of the Milky Way. What will Andromeda look like five billion years from now?
  8. How will the galaxies look "in the end"?