Friday, 23 December 2005

Cosmic Collision

Galaxies NGC 2207 & IC 2163

A friend send me this link named Cosmic Collision this week. It is a subsite of the official Hubble site where it is described how it will look like the collision of our Milky Way with the Andromeda Galaxy. The site shows the story with a narrated video and have a lot of scientific explanations in a simple but precise way.

The Milky way is indeed colliding already with other minor galaxies of our local neighborhood in our trip in the direction of Virgo Cluster named the Local Group, like the Magellanic Clouds, but the collision with Andromeda will be much more espectacular due to the size of Andromeda. Our planetary system probably will not be affected due to its tiny size relative to interstelar distances, but in the site they show how the night sky will look like during the collision time. In the end, both galaxies will merge into a large elliptical galaxy.

The collision will occur in about 5 billion years from now, what remembered me of a story someone told me once (I don´t remember who...): A scientist was giving a lecture about the death of our sun. At some point, a person raised a shaking arm and asked in a trembling voice Excuse-me, professor, when did you say that will occur?. The professor answered In about 5 billion years.. The guy then took a deep breath and said in relief Oh... I thought you have said 5 MILLION...

As a last comment, the Hubble site has a lot of beautiful pictures and interesting explanations. Don´t be in a hurry when navigating there and you will enjoy every mouse click.

Over my desk:

1. Deriving Landauer’s erasure principle from statistical mechanics, Jacobs (quant-ph/0512105).

2. Spin Glasses: a Perspective, Sherrington (cond-mat/0512425).

3. Projective geometry and special relativity, Delphenich (gr-qc/0512125).

4. The Study of the Pioneer Anomaly: New Data and Objectives for New Investigation, Turyshev (gr-qc/0512121).

5. Quantum information and computation, Bub (quant-ph/0512125).

Picture: Colliding galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163, NASA.

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