At a Glance: Galactic Collisions

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What happens when two galaxies collide?

Colliding Galaxies
Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach.
All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA, ESA, and STScI except:
·       Taurus constellation drawing from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory
·       Large galaxy collision animation courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and the Advanced Visualization Laboratory at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, B. Robertson, L. Hernquist
·       Expanding universe animation courtesy of NASA
·       Andromeda Galaxy image courtesy of Digitized Sky Survey 2, acknowledgment: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble)
·       Animated pan through Milky Way courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser
·       Animation of stars moving courtesy of Frank Summers (STScI)
·       Animation of random stellar orbits courtesy of NCSA, UCLA/Keck
·       Milky Way formation animation ©Prof. Romain Teyssier (University of Zurich)
·       Major and minor galaxy merger animations ©Dr. Benjamin Moster (Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics)
·       Fly-around animation of Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy courtesy of David Law (Dunlap Institute, University of Toronto)
·       Animation of two colliding spiral galaxies courtesy of Volker Springel, Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics
Written by Vanessa Thomas and John Stoke
Designed by John Godfrey and Marc Lussier
Music courtesy of Association Production Music

Rotating planet with atmosphere, galaxies in space as backdrop.
Text, at a Glance. Galactic Collisions.
The upcoming collision with the Andromeda Galaxy will not be the milky way's first galactic clash.
Two galaxies approach each other, swing back and forth, then bind into one.
Text, Minor merger. Our galaxy has had several run ins with smaller galaxies in the past.
Thanks to its superior size and bulk, the milky way survived those interactions relatively intact.
The smaller galaxies, on the other hand, were ripped apart into streams of stars and gas that our galaxy will eventually absorb.
Major merger. however, the Milky Way and Andromeda are similar in size and bulk.
This will make their collision devastating for both parties.
The smashup will render both galaxies unrecognizable.
In the end, the two galactic titans will combine to form one large, oval-shaped elliptical galaxy.
A large red galaxy spins after two smaller ones combine. .