Explanation: Will either of these galaxies survive? In what might be dubbed as a semi-final round in a galactic elimination tournament, the two spirals of NGC 7318 are colliding. The featured picture was created from images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. When galaxies crash into each other, many things may happen including gravitational distortion, gas condensing to produce new episodes of star formation, and ultimately the two galaxies combining into one. Since these two galaxies are part of Stephan’s Quintet, a final round of battling galaxies will likely occur over the next few billion years with the eventual result of many scattered stars and one large galaxy. Quite possibly, the remaining galaxy will not be easily identified with any of its initial galactic components. Stephan’s Quintet was the first identified galaxy group, lies about 300 million light years away, and is visible through a moderately-sized telescope toward the constellation of the Winged Horse (Pegasus).
So what happens if there are people on planets in either one of those galaxies? What happens to them? Is there a post to their apocalypse? Are the galaxies so enormous that most of the solar systems therein just slip past each other? Will the gravity of one group of planets pull other planets out of the orbit of their stars? Will some of the planets collide? It will all happen sooooo verrrrry slooooowly, will people who need to have time to make a plan to invent star travel and vacate the premises for a safer place? Would there be a safer place they could get to without FTL travel? And how soon would they know it was happening, and what would the effect be on their populations?
There’s a book someone should write.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.