back to article Forget 2019's tech biz takeovers, here's the mega-merger everyone's talking about: Milky Way and LMC, coming soon

It has long been known that our Milky Way is on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy, with the epic prang to take place in four to eight billion years' time. New data suggests we'll hit another galaxy well before that, though, and the super-smash could send our Solar System headfirst on a path out of the Milky Way. Our …

  1. vir

    "Knock us out of the Milky Way and into interstellar space"

    But isn't every star in interstellar space?

    It's fine though, no one goes to this part of the galaxy anymore.

    1. Paul Kinsler Silver badge

      Re: isn't every star in interstellar space?

      Of course not. Since every star carries around it's own envelope of "stellar space", none of them are :-)

      1. Qwelak

        Re: isn't every star in interstellar space?

        If we are thrown out of the Milky Way though that would put us into intergalactic space would it not.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: "Knock us out of the Milky Way and into interstellar space"

      if we are thrown out of the Milky Way, perhaps the Snickers galaxy will take us in.

      1. Spherical Cow

        Re: "Knock us out of the Milky Way and into interstellar space"

        It would take a Marathon to get there (at least that's how it looks now from this far away).

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Well, when certain "news" organizations publish, there will be folks running amok like Kermit the Frog and waving their arms and yelling "Oh my God! Oh my Gog". Seems these "news" people run articles every week about a meteor or something coming close and possibly unleashing mass destruction on all of us.

    Icon: Couldn't make up my mind whether it should be beer to enjoy while watching these people or the "mad panic" one..... The beer won since it's almost Friday.

  3. Michael Hoffmann

    Future of Earth...

    What descendants would that be? By the time the LMC arrived there already won't be a habitable Earth any longer.

    Wikpedia sayeth:

    "The luminosity of the Sun will steadily increase, resulting in a rise in the solar radiation reaching the Earth. This will result in a higher rate of weathering of silicate minerals, which will cause a decrease in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In about 600 million years from now, the level of carbon dioxide will fall below the level needed to sustain C3 carbon fixation photosynthesis used by trees. Some plants use the C4 carbon fixation method, allowing them to persist at carbon dioxide concentrations as low as 10 parts per million. However, the long-term trend is for plant life to die off altogether. The extinction of plants will be the demise of almost all animal life, since plants are the base of the food chain on Earth.

    In about one billion years, the solar luminosity will be 10% higher than at present. This will cause the atmosphere to become a "moist greenhouse", resulting in a runaway evaporation of the oceans. As a likely consequence, plate tectonics will come to an end, and with them the entire carbon cycle.[13] Following this event, in about 2–3 billion years, the planet's magnetic dynamo may cease, causing the magnetosphere to decay and leading to an accelerated loss of volatiles from the outer atmosphere."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Puzzling

      If you believe Elon Musk (hah as if) we'll be well away from the planet by that point :)

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Well one thing is sure : we need to get off this planet and colonize Ganymede or something in the Outer Planet zone if we want to survive all the coming mayhem as a species.

        1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          @Pascal Monett

          read Larry Niven's excellent novel "A World Out Of Time". The story itself is interesting but a principle plot device in that story is in line with your point. In order to escape the expanding sun, a giant fusion motor was put into the upper atmosphere of Neptune (I think, long time since I last read it) and the resulting massive "pilotable planet" was used to gently move Earth into a "safer" orbit around Jupiter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Future of Earth...

      Wait what!...we are gonna run out of Co2 in the air....?!! We best start pumping some more in pronto!!

  4. DeeCee

    now we just have to hope that bugs like ageing and sickness will be fixed in our lifetimes and well get to see it

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Future Sky

    There's an über-cool Future Sky video that simulates the merger of our galaxy with Andromeda from the solar viewpoint. Enjoy.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Future Sky

      I do believe that that is the best, most precise galaxy-merge video I have ever seen. Thanks for the link.

    2. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Future Sky

      Clicking the Quicktime 1080p link takes me to a German site for anti-stretchmark cream :(


      1. Positive ground
        Thumb Up

        Re: Future Sky

        I found the HD mov at

        <borat mode>

        Iz verry naice

        </borat mode>

  6. Christoph

    That story isn't very clear. Since the LMC is far smaller than the Milky Way, how will it "swell our black hole by a factor of eight and the stellar halo, ... will increase fivefold"?

    It may contribute to the halo as yet another star stream like the existing Sagittarius Stream and several others, but it will take a very long time before its core merges with our central black hole - and how can that core be seven times the size of our own?

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      The increase in size of our central SMBH will not be primarily due to merging with the LMCs central SMBH but due to the increase in infalling material into our SMBH caused by the collision. The Interstellar gas clouds will be compressed, moved around, we'll become a starburst galaxy. Part of this gas will be shoved towards the SMBH and consumed by it, turning it into a Quasar for a while. Cats and dogs will be living together...

      The merging of the SMBHs (assuming one of them isn't flung out) will happen later in this period, as the leading edges of the collisions (multiple as the galaxies will interpenetrate each other, right out the other side, then come back in for a second run, maybe a third or fourth coming together) will start the compressing of the gas clouds and the initial increase in infalling material into our SMBH well before any final SMBH mergers.

  7. Francis Boyle


    Collision with Andromeda is scheduled for 4 billion years. Typical galaxies! You wait 7.4 billion years for one and then they all come at once.

  8. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Will this be another event that we can go to, then retrospectively when we get back, invest 1p to pay for the trip thanks to a billion years of compound interest ?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no mass, their model is wrong

    "Researchers in Durham, England, and Helsinki, Finland, used the Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments (EAGLE) simulator, which can recreate the movements of 10,000 galaxies at a time, to show a cosmic crash with the LMC is coming much sooner than expected."

    No they can't, their model is wrong.

    There is no mass

    There is a resonant electric field in matter:

    1. You already know there is a resonant electric field, you've seen the effects in the oscillations and jiggle of electrons and protons.

    2. You already know there is an electric force, it's well understood. Those jiggles must either *cause* or be the-result-of such a field.

    3. And you can quickly accept resonance with a simple thought experiment: If matter X oscillates at frequency F1, and matter Y oscillates at frequency F2, and two ARE CONNECTED BY ELECTRIC FORCE, then how can they NOT even out those frequencies? How would you prevent that energy from being transferred via that force to *stop* it settling to a resonant value?? So there is a resonant electric field.

    Velocity must be spin

    4. Suppose this resonant oscillation is up down, for ease of visualizing it. Matter is resonant over this field.

    5. If you pushed 5% of that resonant oscillation into the X axis, so that its now rotating +ve X -ve X together with the up down oscillation. The oscillation now turns an extra 5% for each oscillation.

    6. To stay in the matching place on the resonant field, it has to move 5% of the wavelength along the X axis.

    7. So its velocity is 5% of the wavelength of the resonant oscillation (= W/20).

    8. So Velocity runs from 0 to 1 Wavelength per oscillation

    9. Since this is the maximum velocity the speed of light is 1W per oscillation of matter. This is where the speed of light comes from.

    There is no mass

    10. As long matter moves at W/20 velocity, it does no work, it gains or loses no energy.

    11. Which means momentum is conservation of energy in the spin

    12. Which means momentum is not a function of mass

    13. So mass cannot exist

    Electric Force propagates infinitely fast.

    14. Electric force (causes) resonant oscillation (causes) speed of light.

    15. So if the cause chain is in that order, electric force cannot depend on the speed of light to propagate.

    Effects of Electric Force *do* propagate at speed of light

    16. Electric force distorts the field for the oscillation

    17. The oscillation happens, moving the charged particles over the new field, to their new location

    18. To pass the effect on, the oscillation must happen, so the *effects* must propagate at speed of light/speed of oscillation.

    19. So this is where the magic linkage between force and speed of light happens.

    Light is Matter is Light

    20. If matter can make light, then light is contained in matter. Not just the energy, the oscillation electric particles must also be from matter.

    21. If all of matter can be converted to light, then all of matter is made from those same electric particles that make up light. Nothing more.

    22. So there is only 2 fundamental particle, massless one +ve and one -ve.

    Velocity of light varies with wavelength

    23. If light is moving over the electric resonant field at near C (it cannot move at C, moving a whole wavelength puts it on the same place in the wave as standing still). Then where does its apparent wavelength come from?

    24. When two oscillations overlap, the apparent wavelength observed is the sum and difference of the two oscillations.

    25. Since the Electro Magnetic Wave must be travelling less than C (see 23), there must be a difference, so there must be a suma and difference.

    26. My current estimate for resonant F, and W is W ~ 0.875*10^-15 metres. Making F ~ 3.4x10^23 Hz for this universe.

    27. Which makes Gamma rays, 1x10^20hz ~ 99.99% W per Spin, and light at 10^15hz is ~99.9999999% W per spin. Gamma rays should be slower in a vacuum than light.

    Matter is > 1.7x10^23 hz.

    28. At EM Wave frequency F/2, velocity is C/2.

    29. So if you slow light until it's below C/2, its wavelength will be above F/2 and it will be absorbed.

    30. Since light is an electric oscillation, it will distort the oscillation resonant field, causing jiggles.

    31. Jiggles are heat. This is how light is absorbed by matter and turns into heat.

    Time is spins

    32. Since every chemical reaction relates to the propagation of forces, and speed of light, it follows that any perception of time is connected to F.... the resonant frequency.

    33. Say hello to time.

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: There is no mass, their model is wrong

      That is a fascinating series of assertions and I think I understood at least SOME small portion of it. I do, however, have a few questions. Are you saying their model does not account for mass or are you saying that there is no such thing as mass?

      Do you have any particular scientific credentials or peer-reviewed corroboration to bolster your argument? Please note I am NOT trying to mock or be sarcastic. Indeed I am attempting to learn something that would definitely be new to me.

    2. Spherical Cow

      Re: There is no mass, their model is wrong

      If there is no mass, how come I'm heavier now than I was before the Christmas hols?

  10. JSIM

    The LMC was thought to be fairly harmless, and circle us for a long while.

    If you throw in "was expected to", this sentence could work nicely.

    As it is, it's just plain sloppy work.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "With any galactic collision, there is a chance that solar systems like ours could be severely perturbed and may be hurled out of the galaxy. But the chances are slim, thank goodness."

    Why thank goodness? With the galactic centre warming up wouldn't that be the safest place to be? And anyway, who needs a galaxy?

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