Monday, September 17, 2012

This Is How It Ends

I figure that I might as well wax pedantic over things astronomical one more time before I send my brain back into its normal state of splendid somnambulance. I am afraid that I must be the bearer of bad news and reveal the sad future of our planet.

Measurements from Hubble reveal that our companion galaxy, Andromeda, is approaching The Milky Way, and the two galaxies will begin to merge in about two billion years, with the process being complete in four billion years and a new galaxy emerging. With tons of space between stars this needn't be a catastrophic collision, but it will send our solar system much further from the galactic core.

Our actual end will occur about two billion years later when the sun expands into a red giant that will likely extend as far as the orbit of earth. This will occur when the sun begins to run out of fuel. The core will collapse which will result on the sympathetic expansion of the outer layers. Eventually, the outer layers will disperse into space and what remains of the sun will be a white dwarf.

Of course, life on earth will likely be gone long before either of those events as the oceans evaporate and/or we endure catastrophic collisions with asteroids. In fact according to statistics, we will be impacted by a killer asteroid within 100 million years.

But since we're still here and happy about it, here are a few recent photos.

Early one morning last week, I woke up early so I headed out with my camera. From my driveway, I was pleasantly surprised to see the moon and Venus clearly and close to each other before the sun came up.

I awoke early on the following morning as well and headed out to take sunrise pictures. The moon and Venus are still visible together, but their relative positions have changed in the course of a day.


Donna said...

Your photos are great but the news...not so much!Hahaa
Remind me NOT to reincarnate...

Mary Gilmour said...

Wow! That's for the moon and star pic.

As for your other news - should I clean my sock drawer?

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Glad you got the photos, sooner then later, John.

Lorna said...

I could see the title of your post in my email, and had to wait a day before I could bring myself to open it. News isn't as bad as I'd imagined and the photos are spectacular.

Hilary said...

Pretty sunrise and interesting how quickly their proximity to one another changed in just one day.

Ginnie said...

I would never have seen Venus if you hadn't pointed it out. Makes me wonder how much else I'm missing !

Mara said...

Clap clap (that's me applauding you as by your request).

I love the photos you took, especially the moon one! I even thought at first it was photoshopped (yes, yes, I know, I won't think it again).

Norma said...

So the rumors about global change were true? Sigh. Wonderful photos as always. The wedding photos awesome.