Galaxy Collisions and Mergers
Presented by Sean Linden
“In 1912, astronomer Vesto Slipher of the Lowell Observatory, noticed that unlike every other galaxy, which appear to be moving away from us (indicating that the universe is expanding), Andromeda was doing something quite unusual: heading straight for us at a speed of 250,000 miles per hour. Since then the Hubble Space Telescope has confirmed that our Milky Way galaxy is on a collision course with Andromeda — and set to crash in about 4 billion years! Over the last decade, we have been collecting observations of hundreds of ongoing galaxy mergers in the Universe, with every major space-based observatory in the world (e.g. Hubble, Spitzer, Herschel, GALEX, and Chandra) as part of the Great Observatories All-Sky LIRG Survey (GOALS). In this talk, I will explore our current understanding for the life cycles of these major galaxy collisions, how important this mechanism is in shaping the overall evolution of galaxies across cosmic time, and ultimately what the fate of our Milky Way will be.”
We conduct monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of each month at McCormick Observatory starting at 7 pm. There is a featured astronomy speaker, the McCormick 26″ telescope is opened for observing (weather dependent) and there is lots of sharing of information with other club members.