A recent study confirms what a cohort of others had shown – the universe is dying, but it does it slowly, reeeeally slowly, like in hundreds of trillions of years.
According to the new research, the universe is definitely fading away because it produces half the amount of energy it used to produce in its early days. Scientists found that the energy output of galaxies across the known universe is significantly lower than the same output during the cosmic dawn.
Additionally, stars are dying faster then they are created, which will eventually transform the universe into an empty and barren space.
Mehmet Alpaslan, a senior researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center noted that star lights are slowly shutting down.
“The timeline for all this to come to pass is very long, hundreds of trillions of years,”
Mr. Alpaslan also said.
The recent findings were made public August 10 at the International Astronomical Union annual meeting in Hawaii. The study analyzed over 200,000 galaxies over the course of nearly a decade.
Astronomers used seven world-class ground and space telescopes including NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and ESA’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA).
The study, which was titled Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA), is the first of its kind because it focuses on mapping galactic energy outputs. Other studies had shown that the universe was silently dying since the late 90s, but GAMA brings new evidence to back that hypothesis.
The seven telescopes measured energy outputs in 21 wavelengths from the far UV to IR. All wavelength analyses showed that the universe was slowly fading away. Nell Greenfieldboyce believes that the universe in fact is running out of the fuel “needed to make new stars and keep them going.”
University of Hamburg’s Joe Liske, who was also involved in the study, shares a similar view. He very poetically likened dying stars to fires that turn into embers which keep glowing until they cool down.
John Beacom of the Ohio State University believes that the Universe would become bleaker and bleaker before it dies as its dynamics heavily relies on stellar energy to occur.
The recent findings overlap with past studies which had found that galactic energy outputs dwindled because the universe was expanding due to an anti-gravity force called dark matter.
As a follow up, GAMA researchers plan to use the troves of data they currently have and learn how stars form and grow and how fast galaxies are merging.
Image Source: mglkpopuniverse (blog)