We’re all gonna die! A rogue cloud galaxy is coming and it’s going to smash into the Milky Way, make its black hole bigger and knock our planet out of the galaxy like a bocce ball!
Well, yes, yes, yes and possibly … although the people riding Earth as it hurdles through space will not be us. While astronomers have always known that galaxies can and do collide and the Milky Way is on a slow crash course towards Andromeda, new models have found a more immediate danger from something called the Large Magellanic Cloud which is headed our way much sooner than expected. How soon? Is it OK to spend the money you were planning to pass down to your grandkids?
“Ultimately, there is no escape.”
That would be a great opening line for “The Day Milky Way Met the Large Magellanic Cloud” but it’s actually the scary warning from Marius Cautun, an astrophysicist at Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and lead researcher on “The aftermath of the Great Collision between our Galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud,” a study published in the latest edition of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The Large Magellanic Cloud is a so-called ‘satellite’ galaxy, the second- or third-closest galaxy to the Milky Way and the fourth-largest galaxy in the Local Group – the group of 54 galaxies that includes the larger Andromeda, Milky Way and Triangulum galaxies. It’s visible as a faint cloud from the southern hemisphere between the constellations of Dorado and Mensa.