BY HARLEY WHITE

Milk Spill

By Harley White

Under inexorable gravity’s pull,
galaxies often move toward one another.
Closer and closer they come to each other,
till astronomic smashups happen in full.
 
For no less than two of them, possibly three,
such a scenario has been predicted,
as computer simulations depicted
through the Hubble images researchers see.
 
Milky Way will have a new identity.
It’s destined to get a major makeover.
Andromeda’s bound for a broad takeover.
Milkomeda’s what they’ll call this entity.
 
In that head-on cosmic collision in view—
a colossal stellar encounter full-blown—
it is indeed likely our Sun will be thrown
from its present locale to a region new.
 
The galaxies into each other will plow,
but our planetary realms won’t be destroyed
nor be propelled into an outer space void,
though stars will not have the same orbits as now.
 
They’ll go round a novel galactic center.
The fate for our own solar system in store
is perhaps to be tossed far off from the core
of the reshaped ellipse that it will enter.
 
Of course, by the time the collision takes place,
the surface of Earth, without intervention,
will be much too hot for water retention,
because of the Sun’s super-luminous face.
 
This means no terrestrial life could subsist
or think that the heavens are seemingly strange.
Thus no one we know of would notice the change,
and our worldly woes will have ceased to exist…
 
For a while, the night sky will be all ablaze
with new star formations in radiant rays,
but at last in the merger’s more final phase
it will look like spilled milk in a bright white haze.
 
Still there’s no need to fret or to get upset.
This melding won’t start till four billion years hence.
And that’s way away in the far future tense…
So it’s no use crying over spilt milk yet!
 
—Harley White, January 2015
 
Inspiration for the poem was from article, “NASA’s Hubble Shows Milky Way is Destined for Head-On Collision:”
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/milky-way-collide.html
 
Image—This series of photo illustrations shows the predicted merger between our Milky Way galaxy and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. (Credit: NASA; ESA; Z. Levay and R. van der Marel, STScI; T. Hallas, and A. Mellinger).

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