When Galaxies Collide

(Photo credit: NASA)

A newly discovered planet is eroding right in front of our eyes, orbiting too close to a star in the constellation Vulpecula. This “Hot Jupiter-like” planet is slowly evaporating, and astronomers are only just discovering the evolutionary history of these planets and their stars. Listen in to learn the fate of this planet. Also, in 4 billion years the galaxy Andromeda will collide into the Milky Way, as it is currently barreling towards us at 250,000 mph. Unlike the drama of your typical Hollywood movie, there will be no fireworks or sound effects—the galaxies will simply merge, causing stars to relocate in the newly forming single galaxy. Find out what Derrick Pitts says this means for the future of our planet. Early risers can find both galaxies in the sky at 4am this week, looking for the Milky Way in the West and Andromeda in the East. Don’t forget to follow Venus as it continues its transit after crossing the sun; in a week and a half it will join Jupiter in the morning sky, leaving Saturn and a fading Mars in the night. Stay tuned to find out what time you’ll have to wake up this Thursday for the earliest sunrise of the year. All this and more on this week’s Sky Talk.[audio: st20120611.mp3]

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