Scientists have already discovered that small galaxies will merge into bigger ones and their mass will be gained by big galaxies. A new study has predicted the time in which Earth’s Milky Way Galaxy will be eaten up by Andromeda Galaxy, approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth.
According to a team of astronomers, Andromeda Galaxy will consume Milky Way Galaxy in 5 billion years from now.
The study has been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society by the team of multi-institutional scientists. According to the study, once big galaxies get too large to grow anymore on their own, they will eat out small galaxies near them.
Dr. Aaron Robotham, lead author of the study, said, “All galaxies start off small and grow by collecting gas and quite efficiently turning it into stars. Then every now and then they get completely cannibalized by some much larger galaxy”.
Any large galaxy has not merged Milky Way into it yet, but the remnants of the old galaxies that researchers have analyzed could be seen. In about four billion years, Milky Way will eat two of its nearby dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, he said.
A time will come when the Milky Way will stop creating stars and it will no longer expand its reaches. At that time, galaxy’s gravitational force will be increased and it will start eating smaller, weaker galaxies.
According to astronomers, the process will keep happening until a few very large galaxies remain in the universe. They said the process will take a long time to happen.