188 A Spinning Spiral
Current observations show that the Andromeda Galaxy is approaching the Milky Way Galaxy at 100 to 140 kilometers/second. It appears as if a collision may occur in 3 to 4 billion years. If Andromeda Galaxy and Milky Way Galaxy collide, individual stars within the galaxies would not collide, but instead the two galaxies will merge to form a single elliptical galaxy over the course of about a billion years.
“A Descent into the Maelstrom”
I became possessed with the keenest curiosity about the whirl itself. I positively felt a wish to explore its depths, even at the sacrifice I was going to make; and my principal grief was that I should never be able to tell my old companion on the shore about the mysteries I should see.
—Edgar Allan Poe 1841