Andromeda’s Halo of Gases Is Bumping Up Against Our Own, Scientists Say | Smart News

Our Milky Way Galaxy is on a crash course of epic proportions: about four billion years from now, scientists predict it will collide with its neighboring Andromeda Galaxy and form a giant elliptical galaxy, reports Ashley Strickland for CNN.

New data collected by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and published in Astrophysical Journal this week, researchers show that the “halos” of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are actually already butting up against one another—an indication of what’s in store in the next billions of years.

A team of scientists, led by University of Notre Dame physicist Nicolas Lehner used Hubble images to create a comprehensive map of the Andromeda Galaxy’s halo, or the large web of gases that extends out and around its spiral of stars, per a NASA statement.

The team found that Andromeda’s halo extends 1.3 million light years in our direction, and as far as 2 million

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