When looking up at the night sky you might just wonder what is out there in the deep abyss that is space, is it truly lifeless? What lays beyond our solar system and even our galaxy? What is the closest galaxy to Earth and could we ever reach it?
Where are we in the Universe?
Before we begin looking into our closest galactic neighbor we should first get an idea of what galaxy we live in, for any of us who have researched at least a tiny bit into Space you would know that the galaxy we live in is called “The Milky Way“.
Our galaxy, the Milky Way (which is derived from the Latin word “Via Lectae” which is then derived from the word the ancient greek astrologers used to describe the galaxy “Kiklios Galaxios” which means Milky Circle) is a spiral galaxy, which means that our galaxy has a central point where the temperature reaches into the thousands of degrees and then has spiraling arms coming from its center. Our galaxy contains an estimated 150 to 250 billion stars in which some may have sprawling solar systems while some may have none. The Milky Way contains the only known life in the galaxy, on our planet of Earth.
Now that we have a rough idea of what our galaxy is like, even though our galaxy is so expansive that we barely know anything about it outside our local solar system let’s get into what this article is about, the closest galaxy to us.
What is the closest galaxy to us?
The closest galaxy to us is called the “Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy” and is over 42000 light-years away from the center of our Milky Way, however just around half that away from Earth (25000 light-years). This is currently our closest galactic neighbor, yet it still seems to be an impossible distance away.
What is the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy like?
The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy is scientifically classified as an “Irregular Galaxy”, which means it has no consistent shape like our Milky Way does, As well as being an irregular galaxy it is also irregularly small, at least compared to our Milky Way galaxy.
While our Milky Way contains an estimated 150 to 250 billion stars, the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy contains an estimated maximum of just 1 billion stars, making our nearest galactic neighbor a dwarf Galaxy, despite it being classified as a “Dwarf” on the galactic scale, the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy is still humongous and seemingly impossible to reach, at least for current human technology.
The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy contains a large concentration of red gas giants and is currently believed to be in the process of ripping itself apart due to overwhelming gravitational forces because of the Dwarf Galaxies irregular and non-consistent shape.
Could we ever reach the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, would it be liveable?
Now comes the important questions, mainly being on, would human life be possible on the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy? Could we ever reach there? Well, we’ll try and give the most reasonable point of view.
In our opinion, within our lifetime, definitely not. It is very unlikely we will even leave the solar system within the next century, nevermind leaving our galaxy to head off to the closest galaxy which would be the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, not even our great-great-great-grandchildren would ever really reach it, with the planet being over 25000 light-years away from earth, so even if we managed to make vehicles which are capable at traveling at the speed of light it would still take over 25,000 years to reach Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy. To, put that in perspective that is even longer than human civilization has existed, in fact almost 4X longer (Human civilization as of 2020 has been around for nearly 6,500 years!)
So, even if we managed to reach the Canis Major Dwarf galaxy we would still be plagued with the same problem we have in our galaxy, such as finding a planet which is just the perfect amount of space away from its sun, with just the perfect concentration of oxygen in its atmosphere, with a solid ground which also has no abnormal weather, and even if we do manage to do all of that it will be thousands upon thousands of years in the future, humans may not even look the same as we do within that space of time.
So, in conclusion to this question, I believe it is a simple ‘no’, humanity most likely won’t ever expand into other galaxies, especially when we still haven’t expanded upon our solar system’s frontiers.
Disputes of the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy
There are many disputes in the scientific community over what the status of the Canis Major Dwarf galaxy is, with many scientists believing it doesn’t exist at all and is just a part of the Milky Way. This is a very realistic viewpoint, as the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy is supposedly being torn apart by the milky way itself, which would make a lot more sense if it turned out that the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy was just a part of the Milky Way.
In conclusion, the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy is truly a mysterious galaxy, which seems to be an impossible distance away from Earth meaning humanity may never touch it, and in some people’s eyes the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy may not even exist. In the end, our supposed nearest galactic neighbor is truly an interesting and mysterious area of space and I hope scientific agencies begin researching more into what is happening in the Milky Ways next-door neighbor. Just like everything to do with the deep abyss which is the Universe, we do not know the answers to everything, however, we all know that humans are always searching for those answers. Just like our ancestors once explored the Earth, our families tens of thousands of years down the line will one day explore the universe.
Thank you for reading our article about our closest galactic neighbor and we hope we see you soon!