How Will Our Universe End? and Everything You Need to Know About This are just a few of the subjects covered in this article. As a result, if this interests you, please continue reading.
It’s easy to be absolutely in awe at everything we can find today as we gaze out into the Universe. Out of the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, just a few thousand can be found in our night sky. The Milky Way is but one of the countless galaxies that make up the observable Universe, which extends outward in all directions around 46 billion light-years.
And it all began 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang, a hot, dense, rapidly expanding state. We are able to extrapolate from the original description of our universe as being full of matter and radiation and explain how the cosmos came to take on its present form using the known laws of physics. But everything is still developing, growing, and giving birth to new stars. What will happen? According to science, this is true.
Scientists who have long studied the structure and evolution of the cosmos looked at three options based on the simple physics of general relativity and the background of the expanding Universe. One the one hand, matter and energy, which are present in the universe in all of their forms, control gravity, an attracting force that draws everything together. On the other side, the initial expansion rate causes everything to disintegrate.
With the Big Bang, the greatest historical struggle between gravity and expansion rate began. Which will ultimately win in our universe? Conventional reasoning dictates that the answer to that problem should determine the course of the universe.
The universe shatters in a Big Crunch once more. The quick start of the growth, as well as the plentiful supply of materials and radiation, aid in bringing everything back together. The universe will expand to a particular maximum size if there is extra matter and energy before switching to contraction and collapsing once more.
The upshot of the universe’s unending expansion is a Big Freeze. Everything starts off like it always has, but this time there isn’t enough matter or energy to stop the expansion. The universe will expand indefinitely as long as the pace of expansion never stops decreasing.
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The universe’s expansion comes to an end and turns into zero. Think of the uncertain situation that falls between the two instances above. If there were one more proton, we would disintegrate; if there were one fewer, we would continue to grow indefinitely. Under this critical (or Goldilocks) situation, the cosmos grows eternally, but at the slowest possible rate.
To check if theory was correct, we merely had to measure how quickly the Universe was expanding and how that pace changed over time. Physics would control the remainder.
It was one of the primary objectives of modern astrophysics. By gauging the speed at which the cosmos was growing, one can ascertain how much the fabric of space is altering right now. If you look at how the expansion rate has changed over time, you may see how the structure of space has changed in the past.
By combining these two pieces of information, you may look at how the expansion rate has changed over time to discover what the cosmos is made of and in what proportions.
The Universe is made up of approximately 0.01% radiation, 0.1% neutrinos, 4.9% normal matter, 27% dark matter, and 68% dark energy, to the best of our knowledge and based on these results. Some claim that this pursuit began in the 1920s, but in the late 1990s it experienced an unexpected response.
What does it mean for us in the future if dark energy dominates the Universe’s expansion? Everything depends on whether or not dark energy evolves through time. These are a few possibilities.
Expansion is dominated by the cosmic constant known as dark energy.
This is the obvious choice given the best information we currently have. Matter is a non-zero amount of energy that diluted as the Universe expanded and became less dense, whereas dark energy is a non-zero amount of energy that is inherent to the structure of space itself. Since the density of dark energy remains constant as the Universe expands, the expansion rate asymptotes at a positive value rather than a negative one.
As a result, the Universe expands dramatically, eventually pushing everything outside of our small society away. 97% of the observable Universe is already inaccessible in these conditions.
Dark energy is dynamic and strengthens with time.
Since dark energy appears to be a brand-new sort of energy that is built into space itself, it argues that space maintains a constant energy density. But there’s also a chance that it’s changing. It might be losing strength, which would speed up the universe’s expansion over time. This is one possible evolution path.
Things farther away would not only seem to move away from us faster, but would also appear to do so. Worse yet, if dark energy increased in strength, everything that is currently gravitationally bound, including as galaxy clusters, individual galaxies, solar systems, and even atoms, would eventually become unbound. In the final moments of the Universe, subatomic particles and the fabric of space itself would be torn apart. The fate of “Big Rip” is yet another potential result.
Dark energy is dynamic and decays over time.
What other possible path could dark energy take? It might weaken rather than strengthen. The energy density of space should remain constant if the expansion rate continues, but it’s also possible that it’s falling.
One of the early outcomes that could arise from it decaying to zero, as was described above, is The Big Freeze. The universe would keep expanding because there wouldn’t be enough matter or other types of energy for it to collapse again.
A Big Crunch, on the other hand, may happen if it worsens further until it turns negative. Space may suddenly shift signs and re-collapse due to the energy that is inherent to space that permeates the entire universe. These alterations are restricted to taking place over a far longer time span than has elapsed since the Big Bang, but they are still conceivable.
Dark Energy Could Rejuvenate The Cosmos
If dark energy doesn’t decrease but instead stays the same or maybe gets stronger, another possibility comes into play. It’s possible that the energy that currently makes up the structure of space won’t remain this way forever. Instead, it might go through a process similar to what happened when cosmic inflation came to an end and the hot Big Bang began, where it transforms into matter and radiation.
If dark energy persists until then, it will lead to a very, very cold and diffuse Big Bang, where only neutrinos and photons may self-create. But if dark energy becomes more powerful, it might result in an inflationary state and a fresh, incredibly intense Big Bang. The simplest method for reviving the Universe and creating cyclic-like conditions is to do this. This will give the newly created Universe another chance to behave like ours did.
The Universe Decays and Disintegrates Due to Dark Energy
Dark energy, which is connected to the zero-point energy of the quantum vacuum, will decay and destroy the known universe. This is the worst-case scenario. What if, early in the Universe, symmetries broke into a false-minimum configuration and produced dark energy instead of being the genuine value of empty space in the lowest-energy configuration?
If so, it might be able to quantum-tunnel into a state with lower energy, changing the fundamental principles of physics and eliminating all of the bound states (i.e., particles) that are now present in quantum fields. Wherever this decay occurs, if this particular aspect of the quantum vacuum is unstable, it will result in the annihilation of the entire universe in a bubble that expands outward at the speed of light. If such a signal ever reached us, we would too be utterly obliterated.
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The facts significantly favour the first hypothesis, which holds that dark energy is a genuine constant, even though we are unaware of which of these scenarios best represents our world. Our observations of how the Universe has evolved, particularly in light of the cosmic microwave background radiation and the large-scale structure of the Universe, have now placed limits on how flexible dark energy can be.
With the coming of NASA’s WFIRST mission, which will be the agency’s top astrophysics project of the 2020s, we’re prepared to limit that wiggle room by probably another factor of 10 or more. If dark energy offers any hints that our fate will differ from what we now forecast, that observatory will have the best chance of scientifically revealing this new reality about our Universe. Up until that time, our only choices are the ones we are aware of. The remainder will be handled by science.
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