Billions of years from now the Milky Way Galaxy will collide with its nearest large neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy. This view shows Andromeda's distorted arms from Earth's perspective.
Future EuropaFuture Europa
In the distant future, the Sun will enlarge and become a red giant. Temperatures will rise in the outer solar system, melting Europa’s ice into a liquid ocean. Jupiter’s weather patterns will become Earth-like.
Planetary Disk II, v2Planetary Disk II, v2
The accretion disk surrounding the young Sun contains particles that range in size from dust to protoplanets. It is this dust that reddens and reduces the star's light.
Red Giant Sun 2Red Giant Sun 2
The Earth, shown here from the Moon's surface, will be completely waterless in 6.2 billion years when the Sun blazes as a red giant. Some aurora activity is seen near our home world's north pole.
[Thumbnail]The Story of the Universe
The main events of the universe's evolution are depicted in this sequence. After the Big Bang (upper left-hand corner), different kinds of subatomic particles formed. Then came atoms, star-forming regions, stars, galaxies, and planets. The carbon-based molecules near the Earth symbolize the seeds of life.
[Thumbnail]Cosmic Circuits
The universe changes and evolves in an ordered way, as if operated by complex computer circuitry.
Our solar system began as a giant disk of gas and dust similar to this. As the material accreted, planetesimals formed, glowing orange with the impacts of debris. These bodies grew larger over time and eventually formed the planets we know today.
Also seen here are a nebula with star-forming regions and comets orbiting the young sun.
[Thumbnail]Greenhouse Earth
Within a billion years Earth will become a "moist greenhouse", with scalding surface temperatures that cause the water to boil away and life to become extinct. In this image the only water is located at the bottom of the deep sea trenches, where thermophyllic bacteria still live.
[Thumbnail]Galaxy Collision:
Milky Way and Andromeda
The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will collide and merge in about 6 billion years, completely transforming them.
In this painting the process is just beginning.
[Thumbnail]Starbirth in the Milky Way
When the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies merge, huge clouds of gas and dust will compress and set off a burst of star formation. This will be the last significant group of new stars to emerge in our galaxy.
In 6.2 billion years the sun will expand into a red giant. Mercury and Venus both may be swallowed up by the Sun's outer atmosphere. The Earth will become hot, first losing its water and then melting. Mars will lose its polar caps.
[Thumbnail]Future Jupiter
In about one hundred billion years the Milky Way will be a group of red stars reminiscent of a huge globular cluster. Jupiter's cloud bands have become a featureless blue-green atmosphere. The volcanic activity on Jupiter’s moon, Io, will be dormant.

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