Video: NASA's Hubble Shows Milky Way is Destined for Head-on Collision with Andromeda Galaxy

If Andromeda were brighter, this is how it would look in our night sky. They’re all out there, we just can’t see them. Distance to Earth: 2,538,000 light years.

Most of us know that The Milky Way will collide with Andromeda within 4 billion years, and that they will inevitably merge into a giant elliptical galaxy whose name is disputed (Milkomeda, Milkdromeda, or Milkydromeda?)

1.37 Billion Years: Andromeda slowly gets larger and brighter, while tidal distortions in the milky way trigger star forming, making the first stages of a starburst galaxy

3.49 Billion Years: Andromeda is now the biggest object in our sky, day or night. Huge star forming in both galaxies causes them to light up several magnitudes, and making parts visible in the daytime, and visible distortions in The Milky Way's band across the sky.

3.8 Billion Years: Andromeda is now in full-on collision with The Milky Way, with both of them showing severe distortions. Star formation reaches its peak as each galaxy becomes nearly unrecognizable!

4 Billion Years: Both galaxies are now extremely distorted and are passing right through each other, with both supermassive black holes becoming Active Galactic Nuclei. The galaxies are now the 2nd brightest thing in the night sky besides the moon (if not brighter!)

5 Billion Years: The Milky Way and Andromeda fly away from one another, still severely distorted, but still destined to make another, final pass.

5.5 Billion Years: The Milky Way and Andromeda are now elliptical galaxies, no longer having a visible shape other than a blurry group of stars. The last remains of the galaxies spiral away or merge with the growing galaxy.

Visualization Credit: NASA, ESA