geckzilla wrote:Ann wrote:Black and white is the new black for APOD!
Seriously, this kind of APOD could not have been made in color. I like the APOD. It is fascinating, and I look forward to more from Gaia!
As for Milky Way's dust lane, it will certainly be mostly unchanged a million years from now. The Milky Way has a thick dust lane, and a million years is almost nothing in the life of a galaxy - at least if the galaxy in question isn't undergoing a major merger in that time. And ours won't, not in just a million years!
I'm not sure we know enough to say that for certain. Dust is just as dynamic as stars and some parts change a lot while other parts aren't undergoing much change. A million years might be plenty of time to see significant changes especially in areas of star formation. Of course, this whole galaxy view might indeed be too broad to notice much.
What I meant was that the dust lane will not go away in a million years. I googled "edge-on galaxy" and got all sorts of galaxies with dust lanes. One galaxy that seems to lack a "regular" dust lane is M82, which is undergoing convulsions of star formation. Nothing like that is likely to happen to the Milky Way in the next million years.
So like you said, star formation is likely to cause some local changes in the central dust lane, but I think it is beyond the capabilities of Gaia to predict that.