According to latest research, the galaxies are already touching but the collison will take more than 2 billion years to complete.
We all are fascinated by space and galaxies and are often drawn toward fictional movies revolving around the subject. However, one of the fictitious realities of galaxies colliding is going to happen in 5 billion years. The Andromeda Galaxy, our Milky Way galaxy's nearest neighbor, is headed straight for us. According to NASA researchers, this direct collision will be the next significant cosmic occurrence to have an impact on our galaxy. However, we don't need to be worried about that, per Unilad.
Everyone is like ‘Andromeda is so breathtakingly beautiful!’ Really? You’re looking at a galaxy sized ninja star that is heading straight for us and will turn the Milky Way into space soup. pic.twitter.com/IbCwyCc70k— Seán Ono Lennon (@seanonolennon) February 5, 2023
The Andromeda Galaxy will significantly alter our solar system when it collides with the Milky Way. According to experts, the impact will launch the Sun into a new area of the Milky Way. On collision, stars will develop and new stars, gas and dark matter will be reorganized and hurled into new orbits. Although they are likely to be thrown farther from the galactic center than they are today, Earth and the rest of the solar system is not anticipated to be destroyed.
The distance to the Andromeda Galaxy, at this time, is around 2.5 million light-years. One enormous American football-shaped galaxy called the Milkomeda will also be created as a result of the collision of the two galaxies. NASA estimates that it will probably take an extra two billion years for the Milky Way and Andromeda to completely converge following their collision. The far-future collision was initially reported by NASA in 2012, as a result of studies conducted using the Hubble Space Telescope. New studies, however, revealed that the collision had already started as recently as 2020.
A "galactic halo," a cloud of gas, dust and stars that surrounds every galaxy, is so faint that it can scarcely be seen at all. According to research that appeared in the Astrophysical Journal, the Andromeda Galaxy's "galactic halo" is very, very large. In fact, it has traveled so far that our Milky Way galaxy is already halfway there. The Milky Way's "galactic halo" is difficult to quantify, but since it is so comparable in size to Andromeda, researchers have estimated that it likely possesses a halo of a similar size. If that's the case, then our galaxy and Andromeda are actually touching already.
The #𝘼𝙣𝙙𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙙𝙖 𝙂𝙖𝙡𝙖𝙭𝙮, aka Messier 31, or NGC 224 & originally the Andromeda Nebula, is a barred spiral galaxy with the diameter of ~46.56 kiloparsecs ~2.5 million light years from Earth & the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way.— Girl In Space (@ExploreCosmos_) February 8, 2023
🔭Rogelio Bernal pic.twitter.com/De7ttEQUhH
The vast majority of the stars in the Milky Way's halo are also likely to have come from another galaxy, which found a new home during an enormous merger event that is estimated to have taken place between 8 and 10 billion years ago. Astronomers looking for remnants from a past merger and star migration event in Andromeda may find them more easily than in our own galaxy, per space.com. Researcher, co-author and University of Edinburgh's astrophysicist Sergey Koposov said, "We have never before seen this so clearly in the motions of stars, nor had we seen some of the structures that result from this merger. Our emerging picture is that the history of the Andromeda Galaxy is similar to that of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The inner halos of both galaxies are dominated by a single immigration event."