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Milky Way "Midlife-Crisis"?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by entropy13, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. entropy13

    entropy13

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    Our Milky Way galaxy and its neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, seem to be going through a midlife crisis.

    New research reveals that both galaxies are in the middle of transitioning from young, star-forming regions into older, stagnant ones, a transition that is revealed by the galaxies' color. Generally, such a change comes after two galaxies collide, astronomers said, but this pair seems to be making the shift on its own.

    In galaxies, star formation rates and color are closely related. But, analyses of the shade of the Milky Way are surprisingly rare.

    A team of Australian astronomers, led by Simon Mutch, of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, sought to determine the color the Milky Way and the nearby spiral Andromeda galaxy.




    Full article here.
  2. NinkobEi

    NinkobEi

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    Well the two will be colliding in the future. Wish I could live to see it.
  3. Inceptor

    Inceptor

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    Sounds like much ado about nothing, to me.
    There's nothing surprising in that. Our galactic center is not currently active, and not likely to be for a few million years, but, that being said, the Milky Way is not a young galaxy either.
    As for star formation, I read an article in Astronomy magazine a few years ago, that pointed out that star birth has occurred from the center --> out, like a fire burning outward as it finds new fuel.
    Considering the age of the universe, there's not much surprising about the Milky Way's behaviour.

    A little off topic, but a more interesting question is this: What is the duration of the epoch during which life, as we know it, could arise, within our galaxy? For how many billions of years will star forming regions in our galaxy produce star systems with the right chemical composition to make biological life, like us?

    (x billion years / Drake equation guesstimate) = how statistically lonely or potentially statistically populated the galaxy is over that time period.

    As for Andromeda merging with the Milky way... well, 5 billion years... and it may not be a direct collision, which means hundreds of millions, maybe a couple billion years of weirdness as they orbit each other.
    Doesn't matter, we won't be around, in any way, shape or form. If we're lucky, some kind of human technical civilization will survive a few million years. Probably not more than that. Unless the singularity happens and we all get downloaded into a piece of computronium :wtf:
  4. bostonbuddy New Member

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    Our race is actually pretty lucky, earth formed pretty dang early in the universe. Universe is only what 14 billion years old and the earth is 4 and a half. We just need to just get our act together and lay the ground work for an intergalctic empire before someone else beats us to it.
  5. NinkobEi

    NinkobEi

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    It is likely that other races are billions of years ahead of us. Fortunately that may have been enough time for them to destroy each other ;D perhaps we are the remnants of their civilizations!
  6. qubit

    qubit Overclocked quantum bit

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