Andromeda is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way, at a distance of approx. 2.5 million light years away from us. Andromeda is 2.2 times bigger than our galaxy and contains about 1 trillion stars, compared to the 200-300 billion stars in the Milky Way. It was believed that Andromeda was a nebula until 1920. Andromeda is a spiral Galaxy, just like the Milky Way, and it is believed to collide with the Milky way in 3.5 billion years from now. Andromeda is traveling at 250.000 m/h towards us.
But how will this collision affect Earth? Most of us think that this will be catastrophic for the Solar System and for Earth, but, actually, the chance that our Solar System would be affected is very little because galaxies are mostly empty space. Even if the Milky Way has 300 billion stars in it, they are very far apart.
The collision will last for about 2.5 billion years until the supermassive black holes inside the galaxies will be close enough to emerge.
From Earth, this collision will be a spectacular show. This is how Andromeda will look from Earth in 3.75 billion years:
After the galaxies would have emerged, a new elliptical galaxy would be born. Gravity would most likely move to the sun into a new orbit, and move all the planets with it. This is how the new galaxy would look like from Earth:
Everything would most likely be dead on Earth until we may be able to see this, as the sun would have probably already turned into a Red Giant, consuming the first 3 planets.
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