Impending Galactic Collision? It’s More Likely Than You Think

Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the impending collision between our galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy? Well, why not? Are you aware, sir or madame, that our two galaxies are rushing towards one another at speeds of no less than 110 kilometers per second? We’re caught on a speeding train that’s on the same track as another speeding train, except that we’re on the littler of the two trains and we’re certainly going to die. EVERYBODY PANIC.

Well, except for the fact that Andromeda is 2.5 million light-years away. But 110 kilometers a second is still pretty fast, right? It seems fast.

And it is pretty fast; at the current rate of speed, we only have 4.5 billion years to figure out how to avoid this galactic collision. That’s barely enough time for a star to form, a solar system to organize, a planet to evolve life, that life to evolve more complex life, and that complex life to develop intelligence, and that intelligence to develop the Internet. How could we possibly have enough time to figure out how to avoid this impending apocalypse?

Assuming it’s even apocalyptic, of course, since galaxies are mostly empty space and even though we use the phrase “galactic collision” and collision implies the hitting of things on other things, the reality is that the odds of any two stars physically colliding are tiny. Really, really tiny.

So, really, we don’t have anything to worry about. In 4.5 billion years, we’re going to have a kick-ass new galaxy that’s way bigger than all those other, lamer galaxies.

Assuming we aren’t all killed by a gamma-ray burst first. Space is awesome like that.