Fade to Black: The Night Sky of the Future [Slideshow]

The night sky on Earth (assuming it survives) will change dramatically as our Milky Way galaxy merges with its neighbors and distant galaxies recede beyond view.
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LIGHTS OUT: 100 trillion years in the future

The last stars burn out. Apart from glowing black holes and any artificial lighting that civilizations have rigged up, the universe goes black. The galaxy later collapses into a black hole. Earth's topography has relaxed, creating a smooth ball.....[ More ]

LOCAL GROUP: 100 billion years in the future

Successor to the Milky Way is a ball-like supergalaxy. Earth floats forlornly through its distant outskirts. Other galaxies, moving away from us faster than light, have disappeared from view.....[ More ]

ANDROMEDA RISING: 5 billion years in the future

Will anyone see the spectacular view of Andromeda moving toward us and filling the night sky? The coming collision between Andromeda and the Milky Way could bode ill for the planet, because it could kick Earth into the distant outskirts of the galaxy.....[ More ]

SCORCHED EARTH: 4.5 billion years in the future

The oceans are gone. Our swollen red giant sun gives way to the night sky. We are probably gone from the planet, but if someone were here, they would see the stars shimmering wildly in the sky as rising heat distorts what little atmosphere is left.....[ More ]

EARTH: 600 million years in the future

The sun will be hot enough to cause oceans to begin to steam. Earth takes on a more Venusian look and feel. Dense clouds and hothouse effects will blot out the sky.....[ More ]

EARTH: 2008

At the shoreline, on a moonless night, we can see the diffuse disk of the Milky Way stretching across the sky. A few nearby galaxies, such as Andromeda and the Magellanic Clouds, are visible to the naked eye.....[ More ]

EARLY EARTH: 3.5 to 4 billion years ago

An observer near the shoreline of an ocean in its early stages of formation would see comets continue to bring their watery cargo to Earth. The moon continues to recede in the sky. Much of the dust from the formation of the solar system has dissipated.....[ More ]

EARLY EARTH: 4 to 4.5 billion years ago

Our recently formed moon rises in the night sky. Not in its final orbit yet, the moon is seen much larger in the sky than than today's moon. Magma flow from mare volcanism can be seen on its surface. ....[ More ]

PROTO-EARTH: 4.5 billion years ago

The sky above a still-forming proto-Earth is filled with the dust, rocks and gas that are shaping our solar system. A rising proto-sun illuminates the dust and rocks that gravity brings hurtling toward this new planet.....[ More ]

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