Five scenarios of the end of our universe

Looking at our Universe today, it is very easy to get excited by what he saw. Stars in our night sky - only a small part, a few thousand of hundreds of billions of what is present in our Milky Way. Sam Milky Way - only all alone galaxy of trillions of those present in the observable universe, which extends in all directions for about 46 billion light-years. And it all started around 13, 8 billion years ago from a hot, dense, fast, expanding state, known as the Big Bang.

Five scenarios of the end of our universe

It is starting with the Big Bang, we have the opportunity to describe our universe as full of matter and radiation, and connect the known laws of physics, explaining the modern form of the cosmos. But the universe continues to expand. There are new stars, space evolves. How will it end? Let's ask science.

What is the end of the universe

For a long time scientists studying the structure and evolution of the universe, considered three options, based on the simple physics of general relativity and the context of the expansion of the universe. On the one hand, gravity is actively collecting all together; This attractive force, controlled by matter and energy in all their forms, present in the universe. On the other hand, there is an initial rate of expansion, which separates on all parts.

The Big Bang was the shot, after which began grandiose race of all time: between gravity and the expansion of the universe. Who will win in the end? The answer to this question will determine the fate of our world.

Five scenarios of the end of our universe

We thought that the universe such options:

  • The universe will collapse in the Big Crunch. Expansion will rapidly and a large amount of matter and radiation would break into pieces. If matter and energy will be more than enough, the universe will expand up to a certain maximum size, compression and expansion of the universe will turn again collapses.
  • The universe will expand forever and lead to greater freezing. Everything starts in the same way as above, but this time, the amount of matter and energy will not be enough to counter the expansion. The universe will expand forever because the expansion rate will continue to fall, but never reaches zero.
  • The expansion of the universe tends to zero asymptotically. Imagine the border situation between the two examples given above. One proton more - and we collapse; one less - expanding infinitely. In this case, the critical expanding universe forever, but with the lowest possible speed.

To find out which version is correct, we just needed to measure how fast the universe is expanding and how the expansion rate has changed over time. The rest of the matter physics.

It was one of the greatest problems of modern astrophysics. Measure the rate at which the universe is expanding, and will learn how to change the fabric of space today. Measure how the expansion rate has changed over time, and learn how the fabric of space has changed in the past.

Combine these two pieces of information, and how to change the extension speed and as it was, will allow you to determine what is in the universe and in what proportions.

Five scenarios of the end of our universe

As far as we know, based on these measurements, we have determined that the universe is composed of 0, 01% of the radiation, 0, 1% - neutrinos, 4, 9% - the ordinary matter, 27% - dark matter, 68% - dark energy. This quest, which for some has begun in the 1920s, received an unexpected response at the end of the 1990s.

So, if dark energy dominates the expansion of the universe, what it means for our destiny? It all depends on how - or if - the dark energy will evolve over time. Here are five options. Dark Energy - a cosmological constant, prevailing in the expansion of. This is the default option, which takes into account our best data. While matter becomes less dense as the expansion of the universe, diluted with the expansion volume, dark energy is a non-zero amount of energy inherent of the space fabric. With the expansion of the universe dark energy density remains constant, with the result that the extension always keeps a positive value.

This leads to an exponentially expanding universe and eventually pushed aside everything that is not part of our local group. Already 97% of the visible universe becomes unavailable in such conditions.

The dark energy is dynamic and becomes stronger with time. Dark energy, apparently, is a new form of energy, which is inherent in space itself, which means that it has a constant energy density. But it can also change over time. One possible way is to change the fact that it has been increasing, which will lead to an acceleration of the rate of expansion of the universe.

Distant objects will not only be removed from us, but also to do it faster and faster. To make matters worse, the objects that are now linked gravitationally - like clusters of galaxies, individual galaxies, solar systems and even atoms - one day unleash a result of the strengthening of the dark energy. In the last moments of the universe subatomic particles and the very fabric of space-time will break into pieces. This fate - Big Break - our second option.

The dark energy is dynamic and wanes over time. How could change the dark energy? Instead of being strengthened, it could weaken. Of course, the rate of expansion is consistent with a constant amount of energy that belongs to the space, but the energy density can also be reduced. If it weakens to zero, everything will come to one of the above described features: great freezing. The universe will expand, but without enough matter and other forms of energy, which will help it to collapse again.

If the decay becomes negative, it could lead to other opportunities: more compressed. The universe is full of energy inherent in space, which suddenly change the signs and lead to compression of space. Such an option also possible.

Dark energy will go into another form of energy, rejuvenating the universe. If dark energy does not decay, but remains constant or even increases, there is another possibility. This energy is inherent in the fabric of space, can not always be in this form. Instead, it can be converted into matter and radiation, similar to what had been, when over cosmic inflation and the start of the Big Bang.

If the dark energy remains constant up to this point, it will create a very, very cold and scattered hot version of the Big Bang, which themselves can create only neutrinos and photons. But if the force of dark energy will increase, it can lead to a condition similar to inflation, followed by a new, truly red-hot Big Bang. This is the easiest way to rejuvenate the universe with the specified parameters.

The dark energy is related to the zero-point energy of the quantum vacuum, and will decay, destroying our universe. This is the most destructive of all opportunity. What if dark energy is not the true value of the empty space in the configuration with the lowest energy, and is the result of symmetries in the early stages of the universe when they were configured with a minimum of false? If so, it must be a way to create a quantum tunnel in the state of lower energy, changing the laws of physics and destroying all the related condition (ie, particles) quantum fields today. If the quantum vacuum is not stable in this sense, then, where would this break occurred neither the result will be the destruction of everything in the universe by means of a bubble traveling at the speed of light. If such a signal reaches us, we too will end.

Although we do not know which of these possibilities is true for our universe, the data simply furiously vote in favor of the first option: dark energy is indeed constant. Right now, our observations of how the universe evolved - particularly thanks to the cosmic microwave background and the large-scale structure of the universe - impose strict limits on how much room for maneuver retained by the dark energy to change.

And while we will not have a new truth about the universe, we will stick to this. And if you do not agree, we invite you to share in our chatting in a telegram.