Crumb stars suggest Milky Way was cannibalistic
March 7th, 2013
09:52 AM ET

Crumb stars suggest Milky Way was cannibalistic

By Jessica Shugart, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Jessica Shugart is a science communication graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Billions of years after going on a cannibalistic binge, our own Milky Way galaxy has been implicated by the stale crumbs it left behind.

Astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, used Hubble Space Telescope data to spot the crumbs - ancient stars thought to be remnants of a dwarf galaxy engulfed by our hungry Milky Way when it was still young.

The finding, to be published in the upcoming issue of "The Astrophysical Journal," supports the hypothesis that the Milky Way grew by pulling in smaller galaxies and claiming them as its own.

The researchers found the stars while looking at data from the Andromeda galaxy - the next big thing the Milky Way is destined to overtake. In about 4.5 billion years, the two are set to meet up and form an elliptical galaxy (Milkomeda?). In order for astronomers to focus on stars in Andromeda, they had to cancel out the annoying stars that orbited the outer reaches of our own galaxy.

"So when that [Andromeda] study came out, I basically asked them for their contamination," said Alis Deason, the postdoctoral researcher who led the new study.

The outcast stars exist among millions of others that form a loosely packed halo around the Milky Way. Whereas our solar system is roughly 25,000 light years from the galactic center, these castaways lurk at 80,000 light years from the core.

Deason and her team sifted through seven years of archival Hubble data to find the stars that others had thrown away. They hoped to identify remnants of a "galactic shell" - a structure seen around other galaxies that hints at a cannibalistic past.

"Basically, the halo is just a hodgepodge of stars that have come from other galaxies, usually dwarf galaxies," Deason said. "The reason these are interesting to study is they retain the memories of their initial conditions."

Ultimately, the team settled on 13 stars cruising along in the halo. That they existed there, along with thousands of other stars, wasn't the tip-off to their significance. Instead, their trajectories were what gave away their foreign past. Unlike other stars in the halo that move radially around the outer realm of the galaxy, these 13 stars appeared to hover.

"When we looked at these 13 stars, which are three times further away than it's ever been done, we found that the sideways motion was actually quite large," Deason said.

Their tangential motion hints that they were once part of another galaxy acquired by the Milky Way billions of years ago, like aimless minnows left behind after a whale swallows up the rest of the school.

"By looking at their velocities and their spatial positions, we can try to figure out what satellites these stars came from and when they came into the galaxy," Deason said. "It's a link to find out about the accretion history. That's why we study the halo."

These foreign stars will provide useful information about our own galaxy as well. Monitoring their movements, which are affected by the gravitational pull of our galaxy, could give us more accurate measurements about how massive our own galaxy really is.

Because most of the mass of our galaxy consists of dark matter - a mysterious form of matter that can't be seen - the dance of these straggling halo stars might hold the key to the big picture of our galaxy's composition.

Deason and her team stress that more hovering stars need to be pinpointed before our Milky Way's cannibalistic guilt is confirmed, but the existence of these 13 outliers hints at a halo of hidden clues about our galactic neighborhood's early days. Deason is hoping to acquire Hubble data from different fields and distances to ultimately rack up 600 to 700 halo stars for further study.

When the Milky Way and Andromeda cross paths someday, who knows whether own sun will get in line with the new galactic order or chart its own path in the halo, serving as an artifact for future astronomers?

soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. backlink

    You are so interesting! I do not think I've study a single thing like this before. So great to find another person having a couple of unique suggestions on this subject. Truly.. thanks for starting this up. This web website is one thing that's required on the internet, someone getting a bit of originality! backlink

    April 24, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
  2. karlblessing

    To think we're speculating all of this based on imagery that has happened thousands if not millions of years ago.

    March 9, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Chris

      Try billions and you will get closer to the truth. Also those images show cause and effect so they are not as ambigous of predictions as you seem to be implying.

      March 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • John

      Hahahha. "Thousands if not millions of years ago"

      March 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  3. evangelin dangelo

    If you think Scott`s story is nice..., a month ago my aunt's step son basically brought home $6129 grafting twenty hours a week from home and they're friend's sister-in-law`s neighbour was doing this for 3 months and actually earned more than $6129 part-time on there pc. the information on this web-site.......... BIT40. ℂOℳ

    March 9, 2013 at 4:06 am |
  4. Jessica ShoeGuard

    All this is speculation based on our little information.

    March 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • reddragon

      *face palm* That is the point of speculation. We are constantly learning, guessing, and proving. Adding new information to what we have.

      March 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  5. Preston Blair Maximilian III

    according to obama the earth is only 6000 years old.

    obama also claims he has the powers of a vampire. (eternal life)

    this is why education suffers in the USA look at what our leaders believe in.

    Obama asked americans to pray to a majicakal man in the sky after the theater shooting.

    Obama took his oath of office on a fairy tale book.

    March 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • God

      Ur an idiot.

      March 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  6. Preston Blair Maximilian III

    oi say what

    March 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  7. NorCalMojo

    They should teach all science like this. Maybe the melodrama would pull more kids in.

    We built our bodies off the corpses of exploding starts.

    March 8, 2013 at 1:06 am |
    • humberto


      March 8, 2013 at 1:36 am |
      • Derek

        Yup. Forget paying billions of dollars on these stupid wars- let's move the human race forward. Space is our salavation, future & we might just find the meaning of life!

        March 8, 2013 at 1:51 am |
    • humberto

      If your at the narrow end of a funnel, like a black hole, you can't see what coming into the top unless its coming from a side angle.

      March 8, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • humberto

      NASA has evidence of black holes unraveling and stripping stars from light years away.

      March 8, 2013 at 8:00 am |
      • humberto

        March 8, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  8. Rogue351

    Fascinating information. The more MONEY the United States can put toward science and math the better off this country will be in the future. If anything, the budget should be doubled if not tripled on education, JPL and NASA. American has rallied around science before, why not again. Being the first to put a man on the moon and now we have sunk to the listing to a hack radio conspiracy theorist tell us about the Man in The Moon, how pathetic. The same guy claims every other day the sky is falling and the government is evil. The same guy who wont even say the presidents name any longer. If left to some in this country we would head in the exact same direction as the Taliban disregarding everything but religion. If anything religion has derailed America with the help of the GOP / Tea party fixating on non issues like abortion and gay marriage only to more these non issues to the front page. While new technologies, discoveries that motivate intelligent young minds are left out or replaced by a so called "Reality Show". The real reality is that the United States is slipping because of our incessant need to grow the economy via war and oil. Forgetting fortune is education, knowledge and exploration. Only a very, very narrow minded person fearful of his or her pastor may not agree. As for the second amendment, it may be important. It is certainly part of who we are as a country. But remember, even a moron can pull a trigger. I understand it is difficult, to think when you have NASCAR and the NRA on your mind, but the future is knowledge and that knowledge will not suddenly appear from some magic man in the sky, or the moon. It comes from hard work and dedication and a country willing to explore and learn. Just because YOU can only imagine survivalist camps, the fall of our nation, guns and countries over running our borders does not mean that is what you have to pass on to your children. They would be better served learning and creating ways of dealing with these things in ways you could never imagine, but most will not get the chance because of fear. A fear created primarily from the GOP / Tea Party. They name every generation, I wonder what the up and coming generation will be named, war mongers, because their parents taught them to hate the government, and the president and the only answer is to pick up a gun. Or will they see past this and actually look for something that will help the nation like education, knowledge, exploration ? Think about buying a book and a telescope instead of an AR-14 or a Glock, chances are good your kids will learn a lot more. That education and experience will take them a lot more places and make them alot more MONEY that a gun will.

    March 8, 2013 at 12:21 am |
    • jerseyguy36

      What in the world is this rant? You make no rhyme nor reason. You jump around as if you want to talk about everything and nothing at the same time and succeed on the Nothing point.

      If someone wants to study this, OK by Me, but, on your own money not the taxpayers. This is nothing more than the taxpayers paying Millions of dollars on some professional students personal hobby. They look at things Billions of years ago and don't even know where they are at today since we we measure distance in Light years. Are you telling us that the Universe is an intelligence? If so, are you proving the Existence of God? Seems like the way the article is worded that this is the case. The Milky way is an intelligence and therefore our god exists therein.

      March 8, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  9. Athiest

    The universe and earf are clearly only 6000 years old.

    March 8, 2013 at 12:04 am |
  10. Camille Mseikeh

    Hold it for this Milkomeda thing. With 4.5 billions years to go; I think we got time to call for submissions to name the galaxy.

    March 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
  11. Glenn Beck

    This is clearly Obama and Big Gub'ments fault.

    March 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  12. H. B.

    If these stars in the shell are remnants of another galaxy that collided with ours, it's hard to imagine they came through it entirely unscathed. The stars may have survived, but with damage. And any planetary systems they had would likely have been severely disrupted, or even destroyed utterly. It's hard for anything much to survive, unharmed, two galaxies in collision.

    So there had to be damage done to many stars in our OWN galaxy, too. But what? What should we look at to find the damaged ones?

    Also, I know of nothing that points the finger at any particular object in the cosmos that collided with our galaxy. The prime suspect, I should think, would be the Magellanic Cloud. But there is no study to find our recent too-close romance with a galaxy. I could be wrong, but does anyone know of any studies about that?

    This article set me to thinking about this and other things, too.

    I'm well-read on astronomy, but by no means a scientist. So I could be wrong about some things.

    It's my understanding that Andromeda is moving toward us. Which means it is red-shifted. I also understand that the universe not only appears to be expanding, but that the farther something is from us, the FASTER it is moving away from us (blue-shifted). To my knowledge, this is a genuine rule-of-thumb that applies to every known celestial object. I am still curious as to how that is so, however. I haven't encountered an explanation for the phenomenon; I just know it is applicable everywhere in the cosmos. And not just from our own perspective; the expansion, from any viewpoint in the cosmos, is the same. Meaning that all objects in the cosmos are actually moving away from all the others, like dots painted on a balloon which is then inflated, so each dot grows farther away from all the others. I don't think scientists claim that the REAL velocity of those distant objects is as fast as their blue-shift implies. There is something about distance that makes their velocity appear to increase. When that apparent increases to the point where it reaches the speed of light, the object would "fall out of the universe," from our viewpoint, since its light would have to exceed light speed to reach us at all. I've often wondered at this, and wish I knew more about the phenomenon.

    Apparently, though, in local groupings, things CAN move toward one another, like Andromeda approaching us. Are WE also approaching it? It's hardly likely to be otherwise. At what speeds are each of these galaxies moving toward one another? It's hardly likely that we are sitting still while only Andromeda is on the move toward a meeting of the two galaxies.

    In addition, I understand that Andromeda is much larger than our Milky Way Galaxy. In which case, wouldn't a collision of the two result in a bigger Andromeda and with our galaxy mostly shredded? Not that it's anything to worry about for the next few billion years, but I crave to know!

    So that begs the question: Is the velocity of Andromeda's approach to us decelerating? Since it gets closer, rather than further away, its speed ought to be declining, if the relation between distance and velocity is uniformly applicable. Can anyone give a scientific answer to that?

    Then there's the Magellanic Cloud. The article didn't mention it, but it said our next collision will be with Andromeda, which is still VERY far away. Why not the next collision with the Magellanic Cloud? It is a small galaxy in its own right, and is relatively near to our Milky Way. In which direction is it moving? Toward us or away from us? If toward us, isn't it likely to collide with our galaxy in a statistically provable time frame, very MUCH sooner than Andromeda? If away from us, is it possible that it is the remnant of the last galactic collision our galaxy experienced? Of course, it could be traveling transversely with relation to our galaxy, but what about gravitation? Wouldn't the mutual gravitational pull alter such a course? And in doing so, it would not make the two galaxies separate; it would pull them toward each other. Unless, of course, they'd already HAD a collision? It seems to me as though the Magellanic Cloud is rather severely under-studied. It was the study of it which first revealed the nature of Cepheid variable stars. But nothing much has come from study of it since, to my knowledge.

    I'd like to know if there is any prediction about collisions, with either Magellanic Cloud or Andromeda. At what angle would the collision occur, and what involvement would each core of each galaxy have on the other(s)?

    I can't begin to give answers to these questions. Only a genuine astronomer can do so, but lay people who have access to the specific scientific knowledge I am seeking may be able to convey it to me.

    I'm very curious about these things.

    March 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Festivusfortherestofus

      I heard an analogy that when two galaxies collide the likelihood of stellar collisions is similar to two fly's colliding in the Grand Canyon. Things only look dense. There are many examples of galaxies colliding in the universe.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
      • H. B.

        This is true. If you only look at the distances between stars and don't look at the likely gravitational effects. Those are likely to be profound, whether they result in stars colliding or not.

        Oh, a small errata. I spoke earlier about the Magellanic Cloud. I'd forgotten that there are two of them. They are, most likely, closely related in many ways, though. Perhaps both are remnants of the earlier collisions our galaxy has experienced. Maybe it broke another galaxy into two pieces. I don't claim to know.

        We have photos from our best telescopes showing a large number of galaxies in collision, and many others who are about to have one, or just separating again after one. They're all different. In some, there are awesome effects, where, very likely, the black holes at the centers of two galaxies crashed together, sending huge jets of energy outward. In others, the galaxies seem to be passing through one another calmly. There's no way to know how calm they really are without much more study.

        If I remember right, our galaxy supposedly has about 140 billion stars. Andromeda is bigger, so it would have more than twice that number. When the two collide, it won't matter much that most stars hit nothing. It's inevitable that many WILL strike other stars. It doesn't need much to cause great disruption in either or both galaxies. They will be affected by gravitational contradictions, just for starters. So hitting something isn't the only way damage can be done.

        If a planetary-sized mass went past Earth, even if it didn't touch it, the gravitational forces could alter Earth's orbit, spin, axial tilt, and many other things. It could pull the moon away, or pull the moon toward Earth, depending on where it was when it passed by. Similarly, the Earth's own gravitation and momentum would have effects on the approaching body. Without something real happening, we can't guess at possible outcomes, except that if the approach is close enough, it wouldn't be pretty.

        Collisions aren't the only nasties that can result when two galaxies collide. But some nasties are bound to be inevitable. All we can discern are the visible effects. Visible across millions of light years. It doesn't require that all stars, or even most stars, collide. A few can cause great disruption, and conflicting gravitational effects may do even worse damage. It is still quite safe to assume that a galactic collision would be bad for both. At least from our human and life-oriented viewpoint. Life in either galaxy would be in grave danger.

        March 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • robert

      Stars are so far apart in galaxies that it is highly unlikely that the stars in two colliding galaxies would collide with each other. They would certainly be affected by each others gravity, which might stimulate star formation, but you are not likely to see many bumps or bruises. Think of it like two people walking from one city to another. Even if their paths cross, their chances of bumping into each other is still very low, but likely much greater than two stars colliding.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Gerald

      Slight correction, objects moving towards your perspective are blue-shifted, while objects moving away are red-shifted. This is the Doppler effects as it applies to light and sound. Scientists can calculate velocity from the degree of which the light is shifted given the distance from the source is known (which it is) As for galaxies colliding, even though there are billions of stars in each galaxy, there is so much space that most of the stars, in both galaxies, will not touch each other. The gravity interactions between all the objects is what will drive the galaxies into an elliptical shape.

      March 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • DaveW

      Galaxies which are moving away from us are red-shifted. Galaxies which are moving toward us are blue-shifted. Andromeda is blue-shifted.

      March 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • John S

      Objects farther away from us (as delineated by light-years) are older and represent the edge of the universe. The edge of the universe can expand at an increasing rate, but that doesn't have an effect on the objects in the middle of the universe. You could put two marbles in the middle of an expanding balloon and the marbles won't move or be affected in any way by the rapidly expanding balloon around them. I hope that answers your question.

      March 8, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • humberto

      Your nuts

      March 8, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • humberto

      All you people seem to forget that this universe is not only expanding from the center but rotating around the center, probably a gigantic black hole that spewed out this universe and pull the other universe: in expanding it further depending is black holes move.

      March 8, 2013 at 6:19 am |
    • humberto

      Plus Smiths Cloud from the eagle.

      March 8, 2013 at 6:29 am |
      • humberto

        Its been claimed black holes have been found wobbling inside one another as if out of polarity but are they sure at what their looking at ?

        March 8, 2013 at 7:05 am |
  13. Galaxy Naming

    Personally, I got a kick out of the suggestion for the new galaxy created by the fusion of the MilkyWway and the Andromeda galaxies...
    Milk of Andromeda
    Milking Andromeda
    Andromeda's Way..

    March 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Festivusfortherestofus


      March 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  14. Freethinker

    Andromeda is bigger than the Milky Way. The author is incorrect – it is us who will be devoured.

    March 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      While it is larger in volume, we have more stars and more mass. We will eat Andromeda.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
      • MennoKnight

        Well actually we will merge.

        March 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • Paulwisc

        It will look exactly like Ms. Pacman eating a fruit. You'll know it's coming from the sound effects.

        March 8, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • Festivusfortherestofus

      Actually there will be a passing through and both galaxies will continue on their way albeit altered by the encounter. Look to examples already where that has happened. Both spirals will be altered.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  15. Ty

    Given how smaller processes in nature are in a constant state of breaking down and in decay, entropy; this news article is something that is not that surprising even on the large scale that it appears to be on.

    March 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  16. brian

    This has been known for a few decades.

    March 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  17. bostontola

    Given where the author is going to school, I can't wait for her story coming on April 20.

    March 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  18. viiilx

    So, from what location did the photographer take that cool picture?

    March 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Snow

      from his basement office..??

      sorry, bad joke.. silly mood!

      March 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • H. B.

      The article didn't say it was a photo. It is an artist's rendering.

      Many scenarios in space are done by artists; it's common practice. When something really IS a photo, your best clue is the credit given to the telescope (more often than not these days, it is the Hubble) that took it.

      We can't photograph many things in the cosmos. But photos are usually clearly marked as such. For the rest, artists' renditions are the best we've got.

      You may not realize it, but your comment was a great compliment to the artist who produced the picture. You couldn't tell his artwork from reality!

      If you really ARE interested in these subjects, I'd recommend you get the book, "The Universe: from Flat Earth to Quasar," by Isaac Asimov. It may be decades old, but almost all of it is still valid. In the book, he WALKS you through the scientific concepts of astronomy, so the next chapter can build on that new knowledge you've acquired. He isn't called "The Great Explainer" for nothing. That one book got me started as an "armchair astronomer," and I was able to increase my knowledge from there. If you want to get the book and read it, I can envy you for the joy of reading it for the first time. It uses very little math, but gives a sturdy comprehension of the principles of astronomy and of the basic attributes of the cosmos. I know of no better introduction to the subjects.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        H.B. ... I have a nickle that says the original post was just a bit of sarcastic fun, not meant to be serious.

        March 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
  19. Mopery

    It is amazing to look upon the wonders of Asgard, this universe is truly Odin's perfect creation.

    March 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  20. JBK

    . obviously, as this article shows, the interested want a place to study nature's galactic behavior. i don't think it should be a primary priority though. ...i favor building a capability for human survival should something be in the works that will destroy us all...i think this capability includes settlements on other planets, etc... those who don't agree would do well to also think about the children....

    March 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Shane

      You do realize that we are capable of studying many things at the same time, usually even with the same equipment.

      And studying galactic behavior may also end up giving us additional information on our survival by discovering a pattern we didn't recognize before to help us with the search for other habitable planets.

      March 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • jungleboo

      If you promise to change your ways and capitalize personal pronouns and the first letter of every sentence, I will fully fund research toward the human race trying to outlive its usefulness. The children are depending on both of us. Capitalize Now.

      March 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  21. Saravanan

    It is easy to talk about unknown stuff. History is a proof for that. Humans thrived on talking unknowns.

    March 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  22. Stephen Hand

    Incredible what God has made.

    March 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • pokydoke

      Do you have proof of that or are you just guessing?

      March 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      it's even more incredible that there is no god

      March 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
      • EvolutionVsPokemon

        Typical atheist, posts hollow insults attacking a belief instead of why he/she doesn't agree with the idea. Free'd from Theism just to be bound to ignorance.

        March 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        Pokemon ... posting ones reasonable asumption that there is no God(s) is NOT an insult ... posting a response claiming someone is "bound to ignorance" because you don't agree IS definitely an insult. Typical hypocritical rhetoric.

        March 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Aezel

      ^^ Citation needed.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        Needed .. but never found.

        March 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Ryan

      The Ancient Egyptians had this idea on how the universe was created and I find it rather fascinating. Once you strip all the religious mysticism from the story you find out that they viewed the our existence as coming from a vast and immeasurable body of chaotic water which was invisible and unseen (a metaphor for the dark unseen matter which fills the gaps between stars perhaps?) Existing in isolation within this dark chaotic sea were eight forces, all representative of the characteristics of this dark sea. Four of these forces were of male essence and the other of female essence (perhaps another metaphor to show that some of these forces were dominate and more forceful over others which are more nurturing and creative?). Once the pairs came together they ultimately created the FOUR main forces which are the key to the universes existence. After their unions, by the way of the force of the 'Hidden One' (and no, this does not refer to god, but rather the main energy which keeps all in motion and existence) came together in a massive eruption which caused the creation of a hill (thus representing our planet or galaxy etc).... The Egyptian Creation myths go on from there and intertwine to explain the formation of the earth itself, creation of all living things, and even the destruction of our sun. While their finding aren't and perhaps cannot or shouldn't be classified as scientific, what was ancient religion but a tool to explain the forces at work in our universe? Funny to think our ancient ancestors had such insight.

      So to say religion is without meaning or detrimental to the understanding of our universe I feel is inordinate. The fact that we cannot accept that neither religion nor science holds all the the answers is detrimental. Religion, as it exists today in the form of books, hymns, psalms and radicalism is what is hindering faith as being part of scientific exploration. What is in scripture is man made and does not display the true meaning of religion. Religion is not the belief in magical beings or one super dude who is in charge of everything. Religion is the embodiment of exploration and the examination of the unknown, a tool to discover how forces work and interact and a way to revile that which is yet to be explored.... or is that science. Ma'at.

      March 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  23. Steve

    Man is going to keep trying to figure out what God made until God comes back to show them.

    March 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Post Admirer

      Great post Steve.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • randy

      your right. although i do not wish for an end to mankind, i would absolutely love to be able to watch as god shows them whats really real.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • ted

      So let say God comes to earth shows us the answers to all these unanswered ?s . Would that mean we should just stop all effort to be smarter hands on. Or should we just take hes/her word, and live on without, and popular science. If i were God I would not come even close until all people are gone, and animals were the only thing left. You and I both know what happen last time someone claim he was the son of God.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • FreeFromTheism

      bla bla bla, God, bla bla, God, bla bla bla
      Can you support anything that you say or is it just a standard that you have–to make baseless claims?

      March 7, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • Chris Honry

        Read what Einstein said when he was asked if he believed. I agree with him. When someone tells me anything "does not exist" I lump that person in with flat-earthers, universe revolving around the earthers and other ignorant groups who never bothered to think "Gee, I can't even check every part of my own planet, much less the universe."

        March 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

        Chris Honry, is this the quote you are referring too?

        "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it" -Albert Einstein

        March 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • pablo

        You should leave Einstein out of it. He was not on the side of athiest and he did not believe in a personal god. Most of all he was rational and open minded, which most people are not, regardless of whether they are atheist or religious...... no, let me restate.......... especially when they are atheist or religious.

        March 8, 2013 at 1:02 am |
      • Andrew

        Einstein was rational and open minded when he was young, but as he aged, he rejected much of quantum mechanics. Much of that was because his philosophic need for a perfectly ordered universe as described by GR didn't mesh with the chaotic unpredictable nature of quantum mechanics. Einstein liked determinanism.

        In the end, he became like Planck before him, doomed to obey Clarke's first law. "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

        March 8, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • mphilm

      It seems simple. Look around. Look within. You are looking either at what is God or what a God brought into existence out of nothing.

      March 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • wafffles

        I'm on the toilet, looking at my feces. Apparently God is a turd.

        March 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • bspurloc

        which god?
        The Incas and Mayans used to have gods for answers till the white man "god" learned them at gun point

        March 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • persephone

      IIf I could safe a child from being raped, tortured and killed – I would. That is the main difference between me and your god.
      My religion is kindness, and my beliefs come from science and facts.

      March 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Snow

      Faith, and belief are about personal experiences and personal journey to what they would consider enlightenment. I wish people would stop shoving their own on others and let people choose/decide what they want to believe based on their own life experiences.

      March 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Marv

      Science looks at questions that should be answered
      Religion looks at answers that should not be questioned

      March 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • ironman59

      There is no "gawd". This is an article regarding science, not your silly religion and fairytales. This was done using technology, scientific methodes, etc. There is ZERO evidence of your "gawd". The only place that silly thing exists is in the book you use to justify the existence. That in itself is the ultimate in a "circular argument".

      Simple fact as that mankind learns more about the world and universe around him the more your silly religion will fade into non-existence. It probably won't happen in my lifetime but as it has done century by century religion will lose it's influence. First in the Western world then in 3rd world countries before the ultimate plague on mankind is finally ancient history just like your fairytales.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      Exactly. You Get it!

      March 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  24. MarylandBill

    Nothing like the News Media to try and inflate the importance of a story. It has been generally known for some time that relatively large galaxies like the Milky Way eat smaller galaxies. Currently the Milky Way is in the process of eating the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy. Stuff like this just bolsters the proof that the Milky Way has eaten other galaxies.

    Also, the most likely result of the collision of our Galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy is not another larger spiral galaxy but rather an elliptical galaxy.

    March 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Chris

      Reporting a story to build interest is not inflating it. Stop being a dick; people like you slow progress.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • Count Blah

        While I agree that MB is putting on his best "Get off my lawn", old sour puss act. He is correct on both points. It has been known that the Milky Way is a devourer of satellite galaxies. At least a dozen know to date. And the likely result of the eventual "collision" between Andromeda and the Milky Way is a large elliptical galaxy.

        March 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • MarylandBill

        How is asking that my scientific news actually be news as opposed to sensationalism... and getting the science right being a sour puss? Inflated claims in the media hurt, not help science.

        March 7, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
  25. Peter

    How about we spend money on exploring our own Earth, especially the deep sea oceans, instead of wasting billion on fruitless explorations of space?

    March 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Dan

      @Peter you sir are horribly misguided. Yes learning our earth is important, but space exploration is just as, if not more important. First on a tangible level, between astronomy and the space race, look at all of the technology and jobs that were produced. From a pragmatic standpoint, we have all of our eggs in one basket, and on top of that are overpopulating, polluting, and destroying the planet. We need a hard drive back up so that in the even of an "end of the world" scenario, it's also not the end of mankind. So to recap, jobs, technology, and sustainability are all positive byproducts of studying and traveling to the cosmos. Even Stephen Hawking agrees (and he is signficiantly smarter than either of us)

      March 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
      • Chris

        Thank you for being another voice of reason and non trolling lol.

        March 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • Troy

        @Dan: Just because Hawking says something doesn't make it true. Even a genius can be wrong.

        As for who's smarter, it depends on your definition of "smarter." IQ isn't everything.

        March 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Aezel

      The GPS industry alone, which is derived from space tech, will yield 1 TRILLION dollars in the next 10 years to the U.S. economy. In other words, you're a morøn.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Snow

      I have seen idiots who ramble on about their faith, about their non-faith, about the govt, and their life.. but you sir, take the cake.

      Remember, someone like you also said similar things about Columbus' journey as well..

      March 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • wafffles

      To put your request in perspective, we spent more on the Big Bank Bailout than every government in the history of mankind has spent on their science programs.

      "How about we invest in exploring the Earth, especially deep ocean exploration, instead of wasting billions on fruitless bad loans."

      March 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • I'm The Best

        To be fair though, the government insures the money you put in the bank up to $250,000. Had they not bailed them out they could have potentially paid a lot more out to the american citizen than what they spent bailing out the banks. Plus the problem with getting each person their money would have been next to impossible and probably pretty disasterous. One condition to the bailout should've been fire all your higher ups and do it better next time.
        As far as I can tell though there was absolutely no reason for the auto bailout though.....

        March 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      Another guy that gets it. stop spending money so professional students (Author) can keep up with their hobby at tax payers expense. Money would be far better spent as you suggest, here on earth or at least within our own solar system. What you see in these far distant photos or artist renditions are simply what was or might of been thousand or millions of years ago and have since moved.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  26. palintwit

    I was quite surprised to find out that Sarah Palin University is second only to the U.S. Air Force Academy in the field of astro-physics.

    March 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  27. Pat

    I believe an episode of Universe indicated that Andromeda was eating the Milky Way. Of course, by that time we'll all be toast because our Sun would have expanded, swallowed up our planet and then collapsed into a red dwarf. Oh, well...

    March 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  28. Mark

    I wonder if the large magnetic cloud and small magnetic cloud be the rest of the reminante from this encounter.

    March 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • William

      Ummm. I think you mean "Magellanic" not "magnetic".

      March 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  29. want2believe

    Fox News Alert: Liberal scientists promote cannibalism, Republicans reconsider Obama's dinner invite.

    March 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  30. Brian Wood

    Are there any black holes inthe galactic shell?

    March 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Chris

      Yes. In fact the center of the Galaxy is known as Saggitarius A which is thought to be a supermassive black hole.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • JZG

      Well, there's a REALLY big one at the center of the galaxy, and scattered smaller ones like Cyngus X1.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  31. Double Pulsars

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... just kidding! Several years ago I read this article about a Russian astrophysicist who had a theory that the farther away from the center of a galaxy matter is moved, it will simply disintegrate into scattered molecules. I don't remember the name of this man – who knows? maybe he is/was an eccentric scientist with no credibility, but this CNN story makes me want to look into this theory a bit more. Anybody have a galactic star cruiser I can borrow for a while?

    March 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Chris

      I understand what you mean but logically I don't see any reason this would happen. Gravity is relative to mass and density so if an object leaves a galaxy and is in dead space; that object is then the main gravitational attraction and is thus generating force inward still and should remain intact. However objects generally don't become spherical until there is enough mass to do so; given this, an object with little mass/density of certain material could behave differently but I don't see any reason it would separate without external forces. It has been a while since class (I have a degree in space studies) but based on what I learned my above explanation should hold up as a decent generalization.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Aezel

      The four forces that hold our universe together (well, as we currently understand it) are the strong, weak, magnetic, and gravitational forces.

      Gravity is by FAR the weakest of the four. It attracts one clump of matter to another but it by no means is what holds structure together at the quantum level.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  32. Buck Rogers

    The 'Milky Way' is nothing but a conjured-up 'image' by those who profess to be 'scientists', but in truth are actually 'scientific pawns' wholly engaged in their comical 'theories' of the universe. Since the Copernican theory is nothing but a myth, then indeed these folks, like Nick himself, have in effect duped themselves in this non-scientific 'ecstasy' conjuring up more fanciful ideas of our 'origins'. Yet the real 'pushers' of the dupe is NASA, who along with the Soviets, conjured-up 'human spaceflight' after they discovered that they cannot 'land' any vehicle from hypersonic w/o vaporizing. Hence, the fake lunar landings (coordinated by the two) have led up to the rest of their fakery, including the Hubble, which is nothing but the grandest scientific fraud in history, which is about to topple as detailed in Revelation.

    March 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Felix Sinclair

      Time for your meds.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
      • Buck Rogers

        Here's some for you....

        March 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • Buck Rogers

        And here's a 'chaser'....

        March 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • The Eternal Satyr

        He already on meds: " detailed in Revelation."

        The most powerful drug of all – the opiate of the masses.

        March 7, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • MarylandBill

        Please don't blame Christianity for nuts like this. Other than the very complicated situation involving Galileo (long story short, there were lots of politics involved, and he didn't actually prove the Copernican model.. that would be done later), the Church has generally been supportive of research into the true structure of the Universe.

        March 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Chris

      I see you chose to leave out references and facts. That is where you and the scientific community differ.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • CT

      For those who didn't read all of this guy's post, he's saying the Earth is flat and the sun, moon stars and all planets revolve around the Earth. In other words, he's crazy.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • Buck Rogers

        Earth is round, and is fixed as the Scriptures clearly state and as true observable science confirms. The Tychonian system is still the most accurate while Copernicus promoted nothing but non-observable pseudoscience.

        March 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Rob

      Double the meds

      March 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • UncleBenny

        I think his tinfoil hat has slipped.

        March 7, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • MadDog

      You're a p'taK of the highest order. It is also intuitively obvious, even to the most casual observer, that you distrust any form of science. If you step outside on a cloudless night, away from the optical pollution of any cityscape, you can see the Milky Way. How does what you can see with your own eyes correlate to your statements? Copernican Theory? Where did you see/read THAT? I've enver seen it referenced as such. So you'd prefer the view stated by the Church for eons, that the earth is not only the center of the solar system, but the universe as a whole? What hubris !! Orbital mechanics (math, for the unintelligent, uninspired and unknowning) proves your statements false. Anyone that thinks that the moon landings were falsified is truly delusional. If that were the case, how, then, can you actually see the decent stage of several LEM's on the surface of the moon? Huh? Inquiring minds want to know. Your hypothesis that one cannot decelerate from hypersonic velocities without vaporizing indicates you have zero understanding of thermodynamics. I've seen the Apollo Eleven, Thirteen adn Sixteen capsules, all safely returned from orbiting the moon and returned safely to earth. The evidence proves your ignorance. And Revelation is a myth, created to dupe the unknowing into fearing "The End" ... Let me tell you something, Pilgrim ... our sun, Sol, will go Red Giant in about 4.5 billion years, about the same time that Andromeda will collide with the Milky Way. Too bad, that ... the sight would surely be magnificent !! So go crawl back under your rock ... and for Pete's sake, DON'T REPRODUCE !! There are enough ignorant p'taK on this rick as it is. "The meek shall inherit the Earth ... the rest of us are going to the stars."

      March 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • Buck Rogers

        Interesting..... You might want to add a few additional exclamations behind your statements, that way you will 'prove' me wrong.... But truly, as you're obviously in torments because anyone who actually thinks that NASA 'landed' on the moon inside the 'three foil thick' engineering p.o.s. truly needs to get a grip on reality. It's blatantly obvious that the entire 'space race' was nothing but a grand master-minded con conjured-up by the Nazis, and paid for by the American tax payer. Now then, since NASA and the CCCP went to extreme measures to con the masses regarding the lunar landings (filmed at Groom Lake), then you sure as heck can bet the rest of their 'space travel' show is nothing more than a brainwashing scheme with the overall intent to strip away biblical truth (whether or not you believe in God is not the point, yet Apollo is indeed Satan the liar). My point here is that the 'master-mind' of NASA is to promote scientific fraud. So perhaps you should do this... go outside and stare at the sun. After the days end, if your eyes have not burned out of their sockets, record what you observe. Then do the same for the remaining celestial bodies. If you're an astute observer, you will notice that the moon does not orbit west-to-east (unless you're drunk on moonshine...). And then you can go from there.....

        March 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
      • Buck Rogers

        Ah yes, you've "seen" the capsules? Nay, no one ever witnessed the capsules reenter, no one. The only thing you and everyone else "saw" were drops from C130's. They do the same for the comical Soyuz capsules. In addition, you obviously know nothing about mechanics of materials or basic physics. Because if you did, then you would quickly realize that "special plastic" used for NASA's alleged "heat shields" is nothing but a farce. Hypersonic reentry = vaporization = end of 'spaceflight'....

        March 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • Shane

        Wow Buck, just wow.

        You do realize that your Doctor who you are basing many of your assumptions on has been debunked right? Hell, even the Mayans knew that the Earth wasn't the center of the universe.

        March 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • Lee Downie

      Good grief.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Aezel

      With less than $50 grand you can go out in your backyard, point a laser at the moon, and bounce it off the LEM lander still sitting there. Unfortunately, you're a morøn.

      March 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Buck Rogers

        It was known that one could bounce signals off the moon, before Apollo.....

        March 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Nick

      Is this North Korea trolling our CNN sites. Go back to your hole you came from and remember i once too made 8 holes in one in a round of golf!!

      March 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
      • Buck Rogers

        Speaking of golf, Gene Cernan wrote that a return voyage from the moon required the reentry accuracy similar to 'teeing off from the moon, and making a hole-in-one at Pebble'..... Gene is still laughing....

        March 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      Are you trying to tell me that all the work I done on the Space program for many years was all fake? Are you telling me that which I personally tracked via Radar was fake? How did someone fake that for me since I was at the control panel? Umm I guess someone had the wizard of oz behind the curtains, come to think of it though there were no curtains. So who pulled off this great hoax, no not some country, tell who as in the people that done it/ How many Hoaxters were there, where were they located, how did they mess with Radars on several continents all at the same time, How did they mess with all the computers and keep the hoax in sync? You have no Idea of the complexity of the space program nor the people who work in it. The people like me come and go but according to you the hoax goes on and we who were there no nothing o if, tens of thousands of us of many nationalities, religions, color and shapes over time, yet none of us caught on to the great hoax. You my friend are out of your mind.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
  33. lance corporal

    Dump the F-35 et al and put our money in to science and education because in the long run THAT will make us safer and stronger
    Isn't understanding our universe more important than controlling the beliefs and politics of others.

    March 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Dan

      Don't kid yourself with this " dwarf galaxy engulfed by our hungry Milky Way" stuff. The dwarfs snuck in illegally and are taking all of our jobs!!!

      March 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • truth

        @Dan...this article has nothing to do with illegal immigration. Go grab your shot gun and moonshine, get a job and stop blaming immigrants for your problems. baaaazzzzziiiiiiinggggg!!!

        March 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • jerseyguy36

      The F 35 et al is in fact Science at it's best. Most of the worlds greatest technological and scientific progress in the last 100 years has come from the Us Military and some from other countries as well and of course NASA. Without them you would not have your PC nor the internet. No cell phones or any other sub miniature or even miniature devices Without the research money they grant to Universities, many would simply close their doors. The F 35 has technology that may soon be in everyday Jetliners or even in automobiles. You need to read little history instead of looking for a handout to be a professional student. Get out in the world and work on the real stuff not a bunch of theories. Theories are great but until they actually work in real life they are worthless.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  34. phearis

    So Mrs. Shugart took a graduate student's thesis paper about information the scientific community has known for 25 years and tried to turn it into a relevant news story. hmmmmmm .........

    March 7, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • jimdog33

      What have you done besides hide behind your keyboard and post snipey comments while others contribute to society?

      March 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • phearis

        I was just making an observation, no need to get your panties in a twist little girl.

        March 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Thomas A. Hawk

      Because it's her job. She gets money for that. Probably explain why she did that.

      Unless you can produce an argument that her actions are immoral, what's your point? Why shouldn't she do her job? (Now, if you have a gripe with the people who paid her, then go in that direction.)

      March 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • phearis

        What? Gripe? Immoral? What the heck are you smoking? No really?! haha

        I was just saying she should've done a more worthwhile story instead of rehashing EXTREMELY old information that any 1st year Astronomy student already knows, as if it was brand new. Or did you just not understand what I said.

        March 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • jerseyguy36

        Yep Govt. handout money to further her Hobby at our expense.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • EvolutionVsPokemon

      All of this is old astronomical news? Then tell us our All-mighty "astronomy god", can you please show us the proof of the "Big Bang?"

      March 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • I'm The Best

        I can try this....
        Hubble constant, expansion of the universe, cosmic microwave background radiation.
        There are three pieces of repeatable data that go along with the big bang theory (scientific term of theory, as in, not hypothosis). Please provide your contrary data.

        March 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  35. Yakman2

    Yeah...There was a video somewhere where it showed the 2 colliding that I thought was really cool!!!

    March 7, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  36. Dator Sojak

    "the Milky Way grew by pulling in smaller galaxies and claiming them as its own." You earthlings have this strange habit of giving inanimate objects earthling-like characteristics.

    March 7, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • bostontola

      Metaphors are useful.

      March 7, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • jerseyguy36

        Some people also use lies in the same way. How about just plain provable facts instead of Metaphors?

        March 13, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • lance corporal

      hmmmm, aliens don't get humor and metaphor.......... good to know.

      March 7, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Timmy

      what is human-like about gravity?

      March 7, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Rochester

      Anthropomorphism. It's why God was created in our image.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
      • GMan

        nice. I really, REALLY, like that. 🙂

        March 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  37. bostontola

    I'd say the Milky Way was predatory rather than cannibalistic. Not too surprising since we can directly observe other galaxies colliding at various stages. Once again we find our world is in family.

    March 7, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Me Too!

      We were totally just defending ourselves. There we were just spinning away when BAM! Another galaxy sideswipes us, I mean come on, what were we supposed to do just sit there and take that? Jeesh. So we ate them . What ever. It happens.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  38. Melissa

    Call up Dr. Sheldon Cooper, he could explain this, or perhaps Howard Wolowitz 🙂

    March 7, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • jj

      Raj is the astrophysicist

      March 7, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  39. Futon Torpedo

    From Milky Way to the Twix Galaxy! Love it! LOL

    March 7, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  40. kencon28

    Just shut-up and go to Church 🙂

    March 7, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  41. Tea Party Patriot

    God and His angels like to play marbles with the planets and the stars. It is proof of His existence.

    March 7, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • PM

      Get help.

      March 7, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • Alec


        March 7, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • Mario

        Guys, guys, be nice. He's doing the very best he can

        March 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • bostontola

      Sarcasm, nice job.

      March 7, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • phearis

        sadly, I don't believe it is sarcasm. Go google the religious nutball that's convinced the Big Bang was faked because there's no video of it.

        March 7, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • bostontola

        Either way it's funny

        March 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |
      • starstruck

        So you are convinced it happened BECAUSE there is no video?

        Its a theory, you know. Just as relevant and irrlevant than any other. If you buy into it lock-stock-and-barrel you are zealot just like any religious fanatic. WE DONT KNOW. This is what a real scientist would say.

        There is astronomy data that sees clusters of galaxies at the edge of our view that has them moving around a different center. This could shake up the whole big bang theory.

        March 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • I'm The Best

        You're right, we don't know, and it is just a theory. But it has more supporting evidence than any other theory which is why so many people believe it. There's the Cosmic Microwave background radiation, the Hubble constant/expansion of the universe, etc... Other theories don't have as much going for them as the big bang does. So people who understand the reasoning behind the big bang aren't like religious zealots at all because there is a data that supports their viewpoint. As opposed to some religious people who stick with god creating everything where the only evidence is in a 2000 year old book that no one can agree on the meaning and many people believe to be false.

        My point being that people believing in the big bang have more reason than most to believe in it, the theory is backed by observations and data.

        March 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  42. Darryl

    duhhhh The sun will have burnt out by the time Andromeda collides

    March 7, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • chemicalbank

      You got the duhhhh part right

      March 7, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • jon

      The sun will burn out in about 7 billion years, the galaxy collision happens in about 4.5 billion years, but the sun will already be too hot for the earth in about a billion years.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
      • starstruck

        WHAT?!? there goes my property values. Maybe I should sell now....

        March 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • MadDog

        "Burn out" is a relative term. Sol is expected to burn through its supply of hydrogen and helium in about 4.5 billion years. After the Red Giant collapses, it will be a brown dwarf for billions of years more until, finally, it has cooled enough to no longer radiate. But 7 billion? Nah ... that number doesn't jive with the Red Giant or Brown Dwarf phases ...

        March 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  43. Byrd

    Spit them out. NOW!

    March 7, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Dan Schulte

      More anthro-astropomorphism! This made me laugh out loud. Thanks

      March 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
  44. Mr. Dood2u

    I have never accepted the idea that two spirals meeting will therefore produce spiral offspring. I do not believe we have anywhere the required knowledge concerning gravitational distrubutions in intergalactic space to even remotely know what two spirals will do even if they are in the same inertial frame and rotating identically which is the simplest possible orientation to set up a model..I NEED WARN ALL OF YOU THAT YOU HAVE A TIME SPAN SO SMALL COMPARED TO GALACTIC EVOLUTION THAT ITS HONESTLY ABSURD FOR YOU TO PRESUME YOU CAN TELL THE OUTCOME OF SUCH PROCESSES WHICH MIGHT TAKE BILLIONS OF YEARS TO DEVELOP. Considering how difficult it is to establish the multibody problem of gravitational dynamics I think all of this must be likened more to a computer book on fiction than real knowledge..and that's ok...that's great even...just dont lose the ultimate perspective...which is that WE ARE REAL REAL REAL REAL REAL REAL.....SMALL!!!! no smaller still ......

    March 7, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • cucotx


      March 7, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • eta_carinae

      Oh dear.

      Argument from personal incredulity is not exactly a position of strength. Just because you don't understand or know how to perform a simulation doesn't mean none of us do.

      March 7, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • starstruck

        Thats right. Most of us simulate knowledge on a regular basis. And we are so sure we are right!

        March 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Chris

      Your arguement made a point that we can't know because it takes billions of years to happen. The reason we look around at all the areas of the universe however is because the night sky for us is like looking into a window to the past. And by looking through that window and seeing every diffent type of thing as it happens or prepares to happen or finishes happening we can make an educated guess of how similar systems will behave.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Shane

      We don't know for sure, this is also not a scientific journal and basic mistakes are going to be made.

      And the minor detail on whether or not it will turn into a giant spiral (author was probably just making a guess) doesn't really negate the rest of the article.

      March 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Nicholas Smith

      You mean it's not the same as in a dye-box? Wow. Go figure.

      March 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Poltergeist

      Our universe lovers making disc out of stellar objects. Think of it this way gravity wants to pull every star close to every object. In galaxies gravity wants to pull everything into the smallest space possible, but the velocity of stars makes them form orbits instead. However even if gravity can't pull everything to the center, it still will makes the most compact formation it can, which is a disc.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:49 pm |


  • Elizabeth Landau
  • Sophia Dengo
    Senior Designer