A 340-million pixel starscape from Paranal
The second of three images of ESO’s GigaGalaxy Zoom project is a new and wonderful 340-million-pixel vista of the central parts of our galactic home, a 34 by 20-degree wide image that provides us with a view as experienced by amateur astronomers around the world. Taken by Stéphane Guisard, an ESO engineer and world-renowned astrophotographer, from Cerro Paranal, home of ESO’s Very Large Telescope, this second image directly benefits from the quality of Paranal’s sky, one of the best on the planet. The image shows the region spanning the sky from the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer) to Scorpius (the Scorpion). The very colourful Rho Ophiuchi and Antares region features prominently to the right, as well as much darker areas, such as the Pipe and Snake Nebulae. The dusty lane of our Milky Way runs obliquely through the image, dotted with remarkable bright, reddish nebulae, such as the Lagoon and the Trifid Nebulae, as well as NGC 6357 and NGC 6334. This dark lane also hosts the very centre of our Galaxy, where a supermassive black hole is lurking. The image was obtained by observing with a 10-cm Takahashi FSQ106Ed f/3.6 telescope and a SBIG STL CCD camera, using a NJP160 mount. Images were collected through three different filters (B, V and R) and then stitched together. This mosaic was assembled from 52 different sky fields made from about 1200 individual images totalling 200 hours exposure time, with the final image having a size of 24 403 x 13 973 pixels. Note that the final, full resolution image is only available through Stéphane Guisard.
Credit: ESO/S. Guisard (www.eso.org/~sguisard)
The collision between the Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy.
the grand showdown
Andromeda is a bit bigger than us. So when that happens, Andromeda’s black hole is gonna consume our black hole in a vicious act of galactic canabalism.
Which is an actual term used in astronomy apparently.
“Galactic Cannabalism” sounds like an electro/death metal fusion band.
Galactic cannibalism is one of my favourite astronomical terms, but it doesn’t beat the term used for the stretching out into a long thin tube that occurs when something falls into a black hole (spaghettification) or the term used for a rock thought to be a meteorite but which later turns out to be an ordinary terrestrial rock (meteowrong).
fuck astronomy remains to be my favorite thing
apparently we’ll survive this
Science side of tumblr here: So, considering we survive our sun’s 1.75 billion year expansion as it dries up the oceans and destroys all natural life on Earth, and if we are still alive in the 4 billion years that it will take for us to collide with with the Andromeda Galaxy (and lets not forget the next closest galaxy, the Triangulum galaxy) we would almost certainly survive.
It’s hard to describe how mind bogglingly massive space is, but this is actually the reason we will more likely than not be ok. Space is so big and objects are so far apart that even a galaxy is mostly empty space (empty on a non-quantum scale). When the galaxies collide most of the star-planet systems within them wouldn’t even notice if it weren’t for the collision of gas clouds, which would begin to burn and create new stars. Even these gas clouds are so spaced out from everything that they are likely far away enough for almost all star-planet systems to be unaffected. Almost all things will pass through this empty space as the galaxies merge.
We will be fine as long as we don’t kill ourselves first… I think it’s interesting that, as we advance as a species, we become a bigger threat to ourselves and the universe becomes less and less threatening.