Foreign galaxy merging with Milky Way!

Fasten your seatbelts, space cadets: A foreign galaxy is colliding with the Milky Way, as we speak. Personally, the china in my apartment hasn’t yet begun to rattle, but a survey by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey recently discovered it. It’s a dwarf galaxy that lies roughly perpendicular to Milky Way, and, at only 30,000 light years away, is already well within our galaxy’s confines. If you look up in the direction of the constellation Virgo, you’ll see it.

Indeed, we’ve been able to see it for years, according to a Sloan press release:

“Some of the stars in this Milky Way companion have been seen with telescopes for centuries,’” explained Princeton University graduate student Mario Juric, principal author of the findings describing what may well be our closest galactic neighbor. “But because the galaxy is so close, its stars are spread over a huge swath of the sky, and they always used to be lost in the sea of more numerous Milky Way stars. This galaxy is so big, we couldn’t see it before.”

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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Collision Detection: A Blog by Clive Thompson