Will we ever leave our galaxy
How long would it take to reach another galaxy? 1st June 2014
Galaxies are huge clusters of stars and planets that move around a common center. Our planet Earth, which is part of our solar system, belongs to the galaxy of the Milky Way. The Milky Way is made up of around 300 billion stars that form a huge, spiral-shaped disk.
We are with our star, the sun, in a branch of the spiral. If we look at the sky on a starry night, we can see a bright band that stretches across the firmament like a milky brushstroke. This white band, made up of the many individual stars in our galaxy, inspired our ancestors to call it the Milky Way.
To the side of the bright star band of our galaxy, we can see the next larger spiral galaxy with the naked eye when the view is clear. It's called Andromeda and it's about 2.5 million light years away from us. The Andromeda Galaxy is the most distant object that we can see with the naked eye in the sky. How long would the trip to this neighboring galaxy take?
If we could travel at the speed of light, that is, could cover about 300,000 kilometers in one second, it would take us 2.5 million years. Today, however, the fastest rocket is thousands of times slower and only covers 11 kilometers per second. While the light could whiz around the earth 7 times in a second, for example, the fastest rocket in history, the Apollo 10, would just make it from Strasbourg to Geispolsheim. Therefore, no intergalactic trip is planned yet.
On the other hand, we are already on our way in a certain way. Because the two galaxies are approaching each other at a rapid speed (120 km / s) and so the Milky Way and the Great Andromeda Nebula will unite to form a single galaxy in 4 billion years.
Photo: The Andromeda Galaxy captured by NASA's GALEX space telescope
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