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Astronomers use Gaia data to model Milky Way-Andromeda collision

Astronomers use Gaia data to model Milky Way-Andromeda collision

Science
Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Scientists have long suspected that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are on a collision course, but now, thanks to new data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, researchers finally know how fast and at what angles the two galactic bodies are approaching impact. The Milky Way and Andromeda, along with the smaller Triangulum, are the three biggest galaxies in the Local Group, a collection of more than 54 galaxies -- most of them dwarf galaxies. While scientists think all 54 members are organized by their gravitational influence on one another, the positioning and trajectories of Local Group members isn't well understood. "We needed to explore the galaxies' motions in 3D to uncover how they have grown and evolved, and what creates and influences their features...