Spare a thought for the residents of Andromeda

…for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain

For those who don’t know, the beautiful Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with our very own Milky Way. Granted, it will most likely take 4.5 billion years(ish) to reach us, yet I can’t help but wonder what extraterrestrial civilisations could achieve in that time.

It has been estimated that Andromeda is home to one trillion stars (twice that of the Milky Way). Imagine, if you will, that one of the most prosperous of stars has swirled around the galaxy’s central, gravitationally seductive supermassive black hole for eons and eons, allowing planets to form around it. Life – perhaps Darwinian, perhaps not – begins, then grows; time passes. The now intelligent life on these planets would be incomprehensible, even unrecognisable to contemporary homo sapien eyes, should an interstellar visitation occur. They would appear like deities to us. Humble, curious, rational, co-existing with other species – what unimaginable wonders might they discover?

Whether the Earth’s future inhabitants could comprehend this explosive event or not, it’ll certainly light up the night sky in an array of supernovae and nebulae formations like those we peek at through Hubble. So, that’s just a small thing worth considering.


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