Sunday, January 10, 2010

Our Galaxy's Going To Collide!

I finally heard a disaster scenario which does *not* include the phrases “2012” or “December 21, 2012.” We’re going to collide with a galaxy and, if you watched whatever channel it was on, it’s horrific disaster, pure and simple. Stars colliding with each other, planets bouncing around, no more HBO. Horrid.

We are, so it says, about to occupy the same bit of God’s Universe with the Andromeda Galaxy. If I were you, I wouldn’t get my tail feathers all in a bunch about it; this galaxy is 2.5 million light-years away. That is, the light we see from its stars started its journey over two million years ago. It’s pretty far away and we aren’t going to see this happen.

Galaxies don’t really mash each other as in the movies, when everything blows up and things go wild in a very large measure.

Imagine our sun the size of an orange in NYC’s Central Park. Then imagine the next closest star to ours, just next door, and it’s the size of an orange on top of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. When a galaxy moves in on us, we might see one or two new stars in the sky. Keep in mind that distances in the heavens are vast.

If we could send a radio message across our galaxy, from one side to the other and pick up the answer, it would take 200,000 years at the speed of light. That’s just our own Milky Way we’re talking about. Through the flat part? Twenty thousand years round trip. Don’t worry about being hit by the Andromeda Galaxy.


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