NASA has glimpsed our galaxy's fate in three-way galactic brawl

As they spiral closer, the three galaxies are pulling strands of material apart. Astronomers have a glimpse at the fate of the Milky Ways thanks to a stunning Hubble Space Telescope photo showing three galaxies breaking apart. Located 389 light years from Earth in the constellation Lynx is Arp 195, a cluster of three galaxies that are tearing each other apart in a three way gravitational tug-of war. According to the European Space Agency, this is the fate that Astronomers believe will befall the Milky Way in 4.5 billion years. This image was taken just two weeks after a five week hiatus in 31-year-old Hubble's operation. NASA lost control of Hubble in June due to an issue with its payload computer. However, it is back in operation after switching to backup hardware in July. Related: 15 of the most bizarre galaxies in the universe NASA claims it captured the image of three "squabbling galactic brothers" long after they were entrapped by each other's gravitational pull. As they spiral in ever closer orbits, the three galaxies collide and pull off threads of material. The galaxies have been placed in tight orbits around one another. This allows the largest one to use its stronger gravity to grab material from smaller ones. This creates the streak of stars, dust, and gas between them, which can be seen in this image. The galaxies will eventually merge into one. This sounds apocalyptic, but there is so much space between galaxies' stars that it is unlikely the stars will collide. The addition of additional material from mergers should increase the number stars that are born in the newly unified galaxies. Our galactic home, The Milky Way, will face the same fate when it merges with Andromeda. However, very few stars will collide, and our solar system should survive. It could even be diverted to a new path around the center of the new galaxy. Our galaxy will collide with another galaxy in the future merger between Andromeda and the Milky Way. Live Science reported that the Milky Way has swallowed at most a dozen galaxies in the last 12 billion years, including one colliding called the Gaia sausage merger which added the stolen stars to an ever-growing galactic soup. Original publication on Live Science

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