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.|