An artist's impression of the Milky Way galaxy colliding with Andromeda. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is moving towards the Andromeda galaxy. Astronomers predict that in about 4 billion years, the two galaxies will collide and begin to merge. The Solar System's fate is uncertain. It might end up in the final, larger galaxy, orbiting further from the core than it does now, or it might be ejected into
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- Illustration of one of the Voyager probes passing an earthlike planet orbiting a binary star system in the distant future. A nebula is seen in the background. The two Voyager probes were launched in the late 1970s. Voyager 1 has now passed into interstellar space - beyond the influence of the Sun's magnetic field - and Voyager 2 is set to do so in the early 2020s.
- Galaxy, illustration.
- Computer illustration showing a new pulsar just a fraction of a second after it was formed from the merger of two neutron stars. A disc of material is seen around the star, a remnant from the merging process. Eventually it will clear. A jet is seen emanating from the neutron star's magnetic poles.
- This is a conceptual illustration representing space and astronomy in general. It shows the various objects that can be found in the Universe: planets, moons, stars, nebulae and galaxies. The centrepiece is a planetary nebula, the cast-off remains of a dying star. A woman in silhouette is seen looking up into space.
- Illustration of the constellation of Orion, one of the most conspicuous in the night sky. Situated on the celestial equator, Orion is visible from most parts of the world.
- Illustration of the Milky Way's so-called Magellanic Stream. This is a stream of fast-moving gas clouds orbiting our galaxy, associated with the two small galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. As these galaxies orbit the Milky Way, tidal forces pull stars and gas from them, forming the ribbon shaped stream. The stream stretches across 180 degrees of sky, corresponding to a length of about 180,000
- Solar system formation. Illustration of the primordial nebula (solar nebula) surrounding the newborn Sun (centre). The Sun was formed as gas coalesced until it was dense enough and hot enough to begin the nuclear reactions that sustain a star. The solar nebula, originally a sphere of gas, dust and rock, became a disc that eventually, under gravity, coalesced into planets. Some planets are already
- Artwork of the planet earth and galaxy.
More Related Images
- Artwork of a sun over planet earth.
- Artwork of a solar system.
- Black hole. Computer artwork representing a black hole against a starfield. A black hole is a super- dense object, thought to form from the collapse of a huge star. Due to their incredible mass, the gravitational field around them is so strong that not even light may escape from their 'surface'. The point at which light can no longer escape from the object is called the event horizon. Although the
- Gravitational lensing. Illustration showing how gravitational lensing can be used to view otherwise unobservable objects, in this case a blue star (top). Light rays from a distant object are bent as they pass through the gravitational field of a star (centre) or other massive object. The light is deflected from its original path. This bending of light by a foreground object was predicted by Einste
- Conceptual illustration showing the scale of outer space and our location within it. Our most immediate home in space is the Solar System (top right), a series of planets, minor planets, dwarf planets and comets orbiting a star known as the Sun. The Earth is 150,000,000 km from the Sun, a distance known as an astronomical unit (AU). The 2nd balloon shows nearby interstellar space. The next nearest
- Black hole, illustration. A black hole is an object so compact (usually a collapsed star) that nothing can escape its gravitational pull. Not even light. This black hole is surrounded by a superheated disc of material, an accretion disc, making it visible. The massive gravity is also pulling in a nearby gas cloud, top right.
- Illustration comparing the planets of the Solar System and the Sun on the same scale. The planets are shown to scale relative to each other but their distances are not. From left to right the bodies are: the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
- Illustration of a brown dwarf in the Pleiades star cluster. Pleiades (or Seven Sisters) is a young open cluster of several dozen hot, middle-aged stars. It is about 130 parsecs away in Taurus. In the 1990s, astronomers discovered several brown dwarfs within the cluster, as illustrated in this picture. Brown dwarfs are objects which form like stars, but which do not fuse hydrogen into helium like t