Friday, September 11, 2009

No Strain for Andromeda: Galaxy is Cosmic Cannibal

Our nearest, biggest and baddest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy has a dirty secret. It's a big eater. Long considered a suspect as a space predator, early results of the
the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) have found remnants of stars and smaller galaxies scattered around it like pizza bones after a college kegger. USA Today carries a layman's digest in their article, "No strain for Andromeda: Galaxy is cosmic cannibal," from the original Nature journal article.

Why should you care? Well, not only does cannibalism strip stars, over time re-arranging the night sky, but technically, Andromeda is moving toward us at a rate of 75 miles per second. That's an expected collision in about 2.5 billion years. While you may not need to start packing your bags, like the puppeteers of Larry Niven, plans for a galactic move take a millennia of planning.

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