In a short four billion years from now the Milky Way will undergo a massive collision with our nearest neighbor the Andromeda galaxy. With over a trillion stars, Andromeda is currently moving towards us with a velocity of 110km/s. As it approaches it will deform and tear apart our galaxy until, after a few passes, gravity will eventually dominate and the two spirals will end their billion-year journey as a massive elliptical galaxy. This dramatic event is common place in our universe, with an estimated 25% off all galaxies currently undergoing a merger, these play a significant role in galactic evolution. This talk will look to present a brief history of the field of galactic evolution and dynamics from its origins to present day, including a summary of modern research techniques. This will then be discussed in the context of galaxy mergers and how we developed our current understanding about the largest collisions in the universe.
Snacks will be provided. Make sure to follow the Graduate Seminar Series on Facebook.