A newly released image taken by an advanced telescope in Hawaii has shown the distant fate of our humble Milky Way galaxy.
The new image was snapped by the Gemini North telescope located in Hawaii and operated by the National Science Foundations' NOIRLabs. The image showcases a gorgeous galaxy merger between two interacting spiral galaxies called NGC 4568 and NGC 4567. These galaxies have been on a collision course for millions of years, and researchers estimate that in about 500 million years, they will complete the merger into one singular elliptical galaxy.
As explained by the researchers, the image of this galactic merger is a window into the future of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which is set to merge with our closest neighboring galaxy Andromeda. Scientists estimate that the merger between the Milky Way and Andromeda will take place in approximately 5 billion years. Notably, the recently published image shows the glowing remains of a supernova that was detected by researchers in 2020.
Additionally, as the two galaxies that are located 60 million light years away merge, they will trigger stellar formation, which means that as the gravitational pull from the two galaxies coalesce, multiple stars will be birthed through the combining of gases and particles.
In other space news, NASA has recently challenged US students to design vital equipment for a Moon base. The space agency has asked students to come up with a design for a metal production pipeline using materials found on the surface of the Moon.