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From Earth, the Andromeda Galaxy looks like a calm, bright galaxy, and is visible with the naked eye in our night sky. But astronomers have discovered things aren't as tranquil as it seems over at M31. Andromeda is eating the neighbors.
The Andromeda Galaxy contains a trillion stars and lies only about 2.5 million light-years away, so it is a great object to observe and study. But recently astronomers observed wispy streams of stars on the outer fringes of Andromeda, and realized they were leftovers from a cannibalistic feeding frenzy of smaller galaxies it has absorbed.
The cannibalism continues and another victim lies in wait: M33 in the constellation of Triangulum, is destined for a future meal.
Andromeda and the Milky Way are good neighbors, but eventually our neighbor is going to move in with us – the Milky Way and Andromeda are approaching each other at 200 kilometers per second, and will eventually collide. There's no need to panic, though, as Andromeda is over 2 million light years away, and the collision won't happen for another 2 or 3 billion years.
The collision between Andromeda and the Milky Way won't be catastrophic, and after about 5 billion years from now the resulting galaxy will have settled down into an elliptical galaxy. There is a small chance, though, that the Sun won't be part of this new "Milkomeda" galaxy.