Sep 15 2009

The Galactic Food Chain

Category: humorharmonicminer @ 9:34 am

It appears that our sister galaxy, Andromeda, has been eating the Local Group out of house and and home.

Our nearest major galactic neighbor is a cosmic cannibal. And it’s heading this way eventually. Astronomers have long suspected Andromeda of being a space predator, consuming dwarf galaxies that wander too close. Now, cosmic detectives are doing a massive search of the neighborhood and have found proof of Andromeda’s sordid past: They’ve spotted leftovers in Andromeda’s wake.

Early results of a massive telescope scan of Andromeda and its surroundings found about half a dozen remnants of Andromeda’s galactic appetite. Stars and dwarf galaxies that got too close to Andromeda were ripped from their usual surroundings.

“What we’re seeing right now are the signs of cannibalism,” said study lead author Alan McConnachie of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Victoria, British Columbia. “We’re finding things that have been destroyed … partly digested remains.”

Maybe, by the time Andromeda shows up at the Milky Way’s doorstep for dinner, the Solar System will have managed to sneak out for a smoke or something, and can stay off the menu.

Maybe we can get Al Gore to establish a NASA study group to figure out what capitalism has been doing wrong that has left Andromeda so hungry.