The universe is slowly dying, but don't panic yet: Scientists
Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in western Australia studied 200,000 galaxies and found that the energy generated by them is half of what it was two billion years ago.Updated: Aug 12, 2015 02:24 IST
The universe is slowly dying but there is no need to panic yet as we have another 100 billion years, scientists said on Tuesday.
Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in western Australia studied 200,000 galaxies and found that the energy generated by them is half of what it was two billion years ago.
This is want it means: this universe which began as a big bang approximately 13.8 billion years will end in a slow fizzle.
"It's going to be a long retirement and a slow dwindling process. It's about 100 billion years or so until all starlight stops being produced," ICRAR professor Simon Driver told reporters.
Scientists have believed as much since the late 1990s, but this study nails it with precision
Seven of the world's most powerful telescopes were used to observe galaxies at 21 different wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the far infrared.
"We used as many space and ground-based telescopes we could get our hands on," Driver said.
Einstein's E = MC2
To understand the sunset years, go back to the beginning of time when all the energy we find in the cosmos was created.
Some of the energy got locked up in mass --the galaxies and stars and planets. Stars shine by converting this mass into energy as described by Einstein's famous equation E=MC2.
"While most of the energy sloshing around was created in the aftermath of the Big Bang, additional energy is constantly being released by stars as they fuse elements like hydrogen and helium together," Driver said.
It's the creation of this new energy which is showing a slump.
This does not mean that the cosmos will go away. It will still be there, slowly converting less and less mass into energy, and eventually after billions of years it will become a cold, dark and desolate place.
"The universe has basically plonked itself down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket and is about to nod off for an eternal doze," Driver said.
But all lights out, according to this study, won't happen for another 100 billion years.
First Published: Aug 11, 2015 22:04 IST