Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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In 5 Billion Years, the Milky Way Will Be "Eaten" by the Andromeda Galaxy

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will eventually combine, after 5 billion years.

(Photo : ICRAR/Vimeo) The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will eventually combine, after 5 billion years.

Scientists suggest that massive monster galaxies, over time, will stop generating stars that expand their size and devour smaller galaxies nearby, instead. 

Research from the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) of the University of Western Australia drew this conclusion by observing more than 20,000 stars over a period of many years.

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According to observations by some 90 scientists, smaller galaxies grow extensive and larger as they create stars from gas. As galaxies continue to expand, it becomes more difficult for them to produce more stars. Galaxies are left with the only option of fusing and coalescing with other galaxies.

Galaxies can efficiently form stars just by collecting gas. But when the opportunity arrives, a sort of galaxy cannibalism takes place involving a larger, neighboring galaxies, said Aaron Robotham of the ICRAR.

The Milky Way has come to a point where it can no longer form stars in a faster, more progressive state. Evidence confirms that smaller galaxies have been absorbed by the Milky Way, which will inevitably reel in two smaller, neighboring galaxies in the next 4 billion years. These galaxies the Milky Way will have for lunch are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

After the Milky Way eats these two smaller galaxies, the Andromeda galaxy will then devour the Milky Way in the next five billion years. The universe has its own system of survivalism and in the most natural sense, the bigger ones get to "eat" the smaller, weaker ones.

Scientists have demonstrated this phenomena via a simulation showing the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies combining. Astronomers believe this theory is applicable to galaxies since larger ones possess a stronger gravitational pull as opposed to small ones.

As galaxies grow larger and expand, the star formation process slows down and can only be explained by "feedback events" that occur in their active galactic nucleus. As these events transpire, the gases become hotter and prevents the cooling down that is pivotal for the development of stars.

 It will still take eons for this super merger of galaxies to occur, but when it does, gravitational forces will suck all the galaxies together and a few colossal supergalaxies will be left behind.

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