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Answers to Exploration Questions: Galaxies

1. What will happen to the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies over the next five to ten billion years?
Answer: The Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies are two spiral galaxies in the Local Group moving towards each other. When they pass close to each other, their gravity will probably break them apart, changing their shapes. They will probably merge to become one larger galaxy.
2. Are galaxies spread evenly throughout the universe? What explains where galaxies form? Use this image of the “cosmic web” of matter in the universe to explain your answer.
© American Museum of Natural History
Answer: No, galaxies are not spread evenly throughout the universe. This can be explained by the “cosmic web” of matter in the universe: galaxies form along the filaments or strands of this cosmic web and accumulate in clusters where the filaments intersect.
3. The South African Large Telescope has a large mosaic of mirrors that is 10 X 11 meters. Why would a telescope need such a large mirror?
Answer: The larger the mirror, the more light it can collect, and the further it can see. A large telescope like SALT can see faint, distant objects that most other telescopes cannot.

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