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Space & Astronomy

Our universe is 'sliding in to old age'

August 11, 2015 | Comment icon 15 comments



Will all the lights eventually go out ? Image Credit: NASA/ESA
Scientists have highlighted the fact that the stars in the sky are slowly but surely fading away.
The results of a new study, which analyzed the levels of starlight from 200,000 galaxies, have revealed that the total energy output is now only half of what it was two billion years ago.

What this means is that stars are dying out faster than new stars are being born to replace them, a phenomenon that astronomers have come to refer to as 'universal dimming'.

As time goes on the universe will get gradually darker until eventually there will be no light at all.
"The Universe will decline from here on in, sliding gently into old age," said project head Simon Driver of the University of Western Australia. "The Universe has basically sat down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket and is about to nod off for an eternal doze."

We can rest easy though - not only will our own sun last for several billion more years but the universe itself is unlikely to go completely dark for several trillion years.

It's also possible that our universe is only one of an unlimited number of possible universes floating around an overarching multiverse and that new universes are being created all the time.

Some physicists even believe that our universe may be subject to an infinite cycle of Big Bangs thus ensuring that the cosmos and everything within it will exist time and time again for all of eternity.

Source: Telegraph | Comments (15)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
We're a few billion years in and with trillions to go and we're calling it old age? It is more like when kids can eat a whole pizza (or even two!) by themselves, and then when you turn 30, you eat only half a pizza, and then when you are 45, you eat only two or three slices, and then when you are OLD, you don't eat pizza at all. I'd say the universe right now is still a young adult. And we still have adulthood and middle age to go.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Fedex 7 years ago
Uh-oh... The lite brite bulb needs replaced again...
Comment icon #8 Posted by Phenix20 7 years ago
Or perhaps it will be entering into a new phase, not necesserely dying forevermore. Some scientists agree with a type of Big Bounce model. But in any case the right conditions were there in the first place for the Big Bang - the beginning or the (pocket?) Universe - to happen so you've got to wonder how and why such event came to be at all. Why, it surely isn't a one-time only occurance.
Comment icon #9 Posted by XenoFish 7 years ago
What if the universe is already burned out and were just seeing the after image?
Comment icon #10 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
There is the Big Crunch idea where everything pulls back toward a singularity. I'd imagine when stuff started getting closer and closer together things would seem to be brighter. There is also the Big Chill idea where the universe keeps expanding, but the matter in the universe doesn't change, so stuff gets further and further apart. Maybe that is kind of what is being seen? The universe is expanding to the point where it just seems darker? And in actuality the same amount of photons are being put out..... If you point a flashlight (A "torch" for you UK people) across a big room, it does not a... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Infernal Gnu 7 years ago
Do not go gentle into that good cosmic night, An old universe should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Astra- 7 years ago
Oh, dear - I better get the washing in..
Comment icon #13 Posted by Astra- 7 years ago
Do not go gentle into that good cosmic night, An old universe should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. I like what you did with that line - Dylan Thomas is a wonderful poet.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
One thing to consider is that the expansion of the universe is not a case of the galaxies moving away from each other (although this is the main consequence) but the faster and faster actual expansion of space-time itself. Try for a few moments to form a mental picture of how or what that actually means -- not recommended for those prone to migranes.
Comment icon #15 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
One thing to consider is that the expansion of the universe is not a case of the galaxies moving away from each other (although this is the main consequence) but the faster and faster actual expansion of space-time itself. Try for a few moments to form a mental picture of how or what that actually means -- not recommended for those prone to migranes. That is how I understand it. Basically those galaxies that are super far away and appear to be moving away from us at hugee speeds.... are not. Most of what is being observed is the expansion of space between that galaxy and ours. I don't think th... [More]


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