Once things cooled down enough, particles began to form larger structures like galaxies, stars and all life on Earth. As the cosmological constant continues to drive the acceleration of the universe, all the galaxies outside our immediate neighborhood will be too far away to be visible in a few trillion years — their light will simply never reach us. It will continue to get colder and colder until the temperature throughout the universe reaches absolute zero. Forever. The driving idea: What if the expansion of the universe does not last forever? The fate of the universe is determined by its density. The Big Rip (mentioned in the question details) is not a favored theory at all. As the car goes faster and faster — the speed of the velocity change itself increasing over time — the car would eventually fly apart in pieces as friction took its toll. Then something caused it to explode. On the other hand, the notion of eternal inflation and a multiverse may thwart cosmologists’ entire enterprise of explaining why the universe is the way it is, Hertog says. Ironically, inflation also does a great job of explaining why the universe isn’t completely uniform. If this bubble exists in a lower-energy state than our bubble. Has the universe always been expanding? Imagine a driver who keeps a foot on the gas pedal of a car with no top acceleration. If anything is eternal, it’s surely time. By proxy, so would we. Our current understanding is that time and space began during the Big Bang, when a subatomic, ultra-hot and super-dense point exploded outward. 24 April 2019.

This theory suggests that the average density of the Universe is sufficient, ultimately, to stop the expansion of the Universe gravitationally, and cause it to start to collapse back on itself. According to astronomers, the Sun’s luminosity increases by about 6% every billion years.

If so, our universe would exist in a state known as a false vacuum, where we wrongly suppose that we exist in the most stable state, but it’s still possible to drop to another one suddenly. When Stephen Hawking died on 14 March, the famed theoretical physicist had a few papers still in the works. It depends on whom you ask. I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy. AAAS is a partner of HINARI, AGORA, OARE, CHORUS, CLOCKSS, CrossRef and COUNTER. “In physics, finding an infinity is likely an indication that we are missing part of the puzzle,” he says.

In that alternative space, things are more tractable, they claim, and the physics does not lead to eternal inflation. The first two scenarios hinge upon the universe existing in a “flat” or “open” system (one that is negatively curved, similar to the surface of a saddle).

But, Hertog argues, the principle of holography allows theorists to jettison the dimension of time, instead. “Imagine you go to a very, very large scale — much larger than our current observable universe,” explains Jonathan Braden, a cosmologist at University College London. A possible timeline based on current physical theories suggests a time of 10 19 seconds or more. So in Hawking’s and Hertog’s theory, through the principle of holography, the very early universe should be described by a theory with just three spatial dimensions and no time.

It began with the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago when the Universe was tiny, hot, and dense. How will the universe end? The universe is modeled as a fluid, in large scales, so Disconzi’s work proved instrumental in starting to understand cosmic viscosity. For now, as with many cosmological theories, we’ll have to wait and see. Perhaps even more eerie to think about is the idea that maybe each time the universe resets, it plays out the same way. Many current theories suggest dark energy is a cosmological constant, a kind of uniform energy that exists throughout space. From then on, the beginning of the universe and its possible end have been the subjects of serious scientific investigation. In essence, it would cause all the protons in all matter in our universe to decay. There are other exotic prospects for how the cosmos might kick the bucket. Can a Nuclear Blast Alter Earth's Rotation? According to this theory, gravity will eventually cause this expansion to slow to the point where it halts and begins to contract instead.

Basically, our cosmos might be like one of the bubbles boiling in a pot of water, he says, just one of many with their own sets of laws and constants. The results are interesting, but Disconzi acknowledges that Big Rip theories still require a bit of work to make sense, particularly the part about infinite energy being released. No one had successfully modeled how a viscous fluid would act at relativistic speeds, but working with colleagues in the Vanderbilt physics department, Disconzi successfully did it. Let’s start with the basics: What is cosmic inflation? It would just be that one instant in time. Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold.

Perhaps the you that is currently reading this article right now is just one you out of 10^googleplex versions that existed before. The final result would be a universe that reaches a tiny singularity, a dark reflection of the Big Bang. Nothing can exist in such a place, as there is literally no energy. Dyson’s concept on eternal intelligence was a good attempt at tackling how the universe’s end might not be civilization’s, but like the Big Crunch, it can’t overcome dark energy’s implications. There are hundreds of known cosmic events that could obliterate the life on our planet. Think of it as an alternate universe (though it’s really the same universe with different properties). The exponentially expanding false vacuum produces more and more of itself, so there’s ever more space expanding at an incredibly fast rate. Our current understanding of the Universe is … Decades ago, he suggested an alternative fix by speculating that in the very beginning, time was, crudely speaking, dimensional, an idea that doesn’t mesh with the new work. The team hopes that perhaps a little blip on the otherwise uniform CMB would betray the existence of such a false vacuum in the distant past, as well as provide the first concrete evidence for a multiverse. It then relaxes to its true lowest energy state, in which space expands much more slowly.

It happens because of  a mysterious form of energy know as “dark energy.” We don’t know what it is but, each year, this dark energy causes the rate of expansion to increase. We’ll be left with just particles in a void.

But when cosmologists calculated just how much it’s slowed down, they got a negative result — the expansion of the universe is speeding up! “It’s very difficult to tell how the universe will end just from local measurements,” explains the University of Pennsylvania’s Mark Trodden. Just the same instant in time. The universe will be in a state of equilibrium, and these particles will bounce off of one another without exchanging energy. In this model, if the Higgs Boson particle weighs in at a certain mass, it could indicate that the vacuum of our universe may be inherently unstable, perhaps existing in a perpetual “metastable’ state — something that has been discussed at length many times before. We could potentially know for sure in the next 20 years—we have a satellite (the Planck satellite) surveying space for the patterns in background radiation that the prominent theories on the origin of the universe predict. Instead, it gets very close and is then repelled by a force similar to the one that repels a ball when you bounce it off the floor. Everything will be so far away that the light from distant stars and galaxies can never reach them. That would be as bad as it sounds. Instead, a single, well-behaved universe merges. The end of everything else, though, is a little bit more difficult to predict, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from speculating and theorizing. An event like this would be like a single breath: the universe would “breathe out” the Big Bang, and “breathe in” the Big Crunch. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. It’s anyone’s guess. Inflation solves that puzzle by implying that all the points in the sky started out close enough to interact, and then were stretched far apart.

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