Impending Galactic Crash Could Rip Open the Black Hole at the Milky Way’s Center

Submitted by: trimble 1 week ago in Science

In this Hubble image, the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51a) and a companion (M51b) are merging. The two galaxies are similar in mass to the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud. 
Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)


Impending Galactic Crash Could Rip Open the Black Hole at the Milky Way’s Center

By: Brandon Specktor
From: LiveScience

THE END OF the Milky Way as we know it may come a few billion years ahead of schedule.

According to a new paper published Jan. 4 in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, our home galaxy appears to be on a crash course with one of its nearest satellites, the spiral of stars known as the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

This cosmic crash, modeled in lovely and terrifying detail by a team of astrophysicists at Durham University in the U.K., could begin as soon as 2 billion years from now — roughly 2 billion to 3 billion years sooner than the long-anticipated collision between the Milky Way and its nearest cosmic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. (Adjust your doomsday clocks accordingly.)

While the LMC boasts only about one-twentieth the solar mass of the Milky Way, the collision would nevertheless leave permanent scars on both galaxies, igniting once-dormant black holes, flinging stars quadrillions of miles out of orbit and staining the sky with crackling cosmic radiation.

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There are 25 comments:
Male 146
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Male 3,051
Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,
And you feel that you've had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough,
Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned,
The sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun, and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In the outer spiral arm, at 40, 000 miles an hour,
Of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars;
It's a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it's just three thousand light-years wide.
We're thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go 'round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy itself is one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.
Our universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
In all of the directions it can whiz;
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!
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Male 885
Dang it! I had a date that night!
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Male 195
profworm There's still time to cancel.
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Male 2,015
50 thousand years ago, our ancestors developed "behaviour modernity"
500 thousand years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovan split from our common ancestor

1 million years ago, there were no homo sapiens.

10 times farther back, dinosaurs were still gone.
10 times farther back, dinosaurs were roaming.
10 times farther back, single-celled organisms were kings.

This was only 1B years.

There is no point in worrying about events in this timeframe.  Humanity will not exist in any recognizable way even 1/1000 of the 2 to 3 billion years until this potential problem.

Even ignoring Humanity's behavioral problems (which will most certainly be the cause of our own destruction), homo sapiens will simply not exist by then simply due to the evolutionary rate of the homo genus.
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Male 2,850
punko pretty bleak view of the future.
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Male 2,015
dromed No one would be happier, or more surprised, than I if humanity was to still exist in 1000 years, let alone a billion.
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Male 195
dromed "pretty bleak view of the future."

I thought it was optimistic to suggest that we might survive long enough to become a different species.
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Male 3,051
Don't Panic!
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Male 146
scheckydamon Don't forget your towel :)
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Male 2,240
We'd better lower our carbon before that happens, or we'll all be in big trouble! :-O
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Male 195
gohikineko "We'd better lower our carbon"
I've been trying to sequester carbon by taking in as much C2H5OH as possible, but I've been catching H about it. I need to try something else.
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Male 309
Excuse me. You can't "rip open" a black hole according to our current understanding of physics.
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Male 195
stevopusser "You can't "rip open" a black hole according to our current understanding of physics."
"If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong."
Arthur C. Clarke
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Male 195
stevopusser "according to our current understanding of physics."
I'm glad you added that. We're still learning. Granted that the headline was written to attract attention, rather than to educate.
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Male 2,240
semichisam Yes, finally someone who knows the purpose of the headline is not to tell the entire content of the article (post) but to attract attention in an informative and BRIEF way, eh?
I'm being lectured because I pointed out NASA said there was "no global warming"... the article makes clear it wasn't "for the past 2000 years" but only recent & relative to expectations "no warming" :/ (ie: not as much as AGW said there would be, says NASA in that article)

Anyhow, do we have any idea how all black holes are created? I know the collapsing star one but isn't there other theories too? Gtg to work can't research, lolz!
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Male 965
gohikineko If you want to be branded as spreading fake news THAT's the attitude.

A headline should briefly inform your readers about the content - yes. But stating this as a reply to criticizing it for making an extra effort of telling lies - that's Trump.
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Female 4
gohikineko Black holes can be created by any process that achieves sufficient energy density. In addition to collapsing stars, in principle very high energy collisions can do it, but the resulting black hole would likely fizzle out quickly without much consequence.
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Male 309
susieq01 Don't forget the theoretical but very hard to observe primordial black holes created in the big bang, though quantum theory says the smaller ones would have shrunk and exploded by now (they evaporate faster the smaller they get, until they go out with a bang...one could say they rip themselves open. But a galactic collision would result in more matter feeding into the Sagittarius A hole at the core, having the exact opposite effect.)
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Female 4
stevopusser Yes, I would say it is difficult to observe primordial black holes.
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Male 195
stevopusser "more matter feeding into the Sagittarius A hole"

This spawned so many possible responses in my mind, that nevertheless could not rise to the occasion, that I finally decided that you deserve the award for the best straight line I have seen here for a long, long time.
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Male 309
semichisam Some might say our political system is now centered around a massive A hole, too.  But I rise above such petty insults...  :)

I found this Onion item hilarious at the time, though:


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Male 550
stevopusser .....must not make joke.....
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Male 195
wolladude ".....must not make joke....."

No. Go ahead. Rip him a new black hole.
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Male 309
semichisam Yes, I know why Russians call them frozen stars instead...
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