Sept. 8, 2003 — Some say the universe will end in a "Big Crunch," others expect a "Big Chill," and now some physicists are saying the end could be something more like a "Big Kablooie."
The new theory, actually called the "Big Rip" by its creators, requires the continuous growth of the universe's "dark energy," which pushes things apart and may account for much of the universe's expansion since the "Big Bang."
If dark energy increases fast enough, in about 20 billion years the repulsive force could become so strong that it pushes apart galaxies, stars, solar systems and eventually even atoms will fly to pieces, says Robert Caldwell of Dartmouth College.
"It's a runaway process," said Caldwell, who with colleagues Marc Kamionkowski and Nevin Weinberg at Caltech, published their unusual hypothesis in the current issue of Physical Review Letters.
The dark energy called on by Caldwell is different from the more famous dark matter in that it has no mass or gravity. In fact it's a sort of anti-gravity called on to explain why stars and galaxies are flying away from each other so quickly.
Based on detailed observations of exploding stars, astrophysicists have been able to estimate that dark energy makes up about 70 percent of "stuff" in the universe. The rest is made of dark matter (25 percent) and regular matter that makes up stars, planets and us (5 percent).
I think they almost got it but not quite. I do believe that some of them know what is happening but they can't explain how it's happening so "push" is the word for now. When we start hearing whispers of the universe being "pulled apart" and not "pushed" apart a new era of enlightenment begins *JOY*