The end is near, well if you plan to be alive for a few more billion years. An international team has found, while studying more than 200,000 galaxies, that “the universe is slowly dying.” Researchers used seven of the world’s most powerful telescopes to observe galaxies using 21 different wavelengths, from far ultraviolet to the far infrared.
The international team of astronomers, led by Simon Driver from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Australia, has measured the energy generated within a large portion of space more precisely than ever before, and is the most comprehensive assessment of the energy output of the nearby Universe.
The Universe is experiencing a slow death:
The researchers found by using the 21 different wavelengths to study 200,000 galaxies that they were able to “confirm that the energy produced in a section of the Universe today is only about half what it was two billion years ago and find that this fading is occurring across all wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the far infra-red. The Universe is slowly dying,” the European Southern Observatory (ESO) said in a statement.
“We used as many space and ground-based telescopes we could get our hands on to measure the energy output of over 200,000 galaxies across as broad a wavelength range as possible,” Driver said.
According to ESO, “All the energy in the Universe was created in the Big Bang, with some portion locked up as mass. Stars shine by converting mass back into energy, as described by Einstein’s famous equation E=mc². The GAMA study sets out to map and model all of the energy generated within a large volume of space today, and at different times in the past.”
National Geographic: Death of the Universe:
“While most of the energy sloshing around in the Universe arose in the aftermath of the Big Bang, additional energy is constantly being generated by stars as they fuse elements like hydrogen and helium together,” Driver says.
“This new energy is either absorbed by dust as it travels through the host galaxy, or escapes into intergalactic space and travels until it hits something, such as another star, a planet, or, very occasionally, a telescope mirror.”
The fact that the Universe is slowly fading has been known since the late 1990s, but this work shows that it’s happening across all wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the infrared, representing the most comprehensive assessment of the energy output of the nearby Universe, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) wrote.
The Universe is fated to decline from here on in, like an old age that lasts forever.
“The Universe has basically plonked itself down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket, and is about to nod off for an eternal doze,” Professor Driver said.
The death of the universe – Renée Hlozek
The guys from IFL Science explain, the “stars use up their fuel and dissipate it as light and heat. When certain stars end their lives in cataclysmic supernova explosions, they can fuel the birth of new stars, but ultimately all of that energy will spread out so much that no new stars can form from it. In the galaxies studied, the rate of star formation was found to decrease by a factor of two over two billion years. The researchers came to their conclusion by comparing the energy output of older galaxies and newer galaxies.”
“Essentially, the universe is curling up on the sofa and become an old universe,” Jochen Liske from the University of Hamburg, who was involved in the research, told IFL Science.
“The universe is getting darker and darker. It is becoming a very cold and dark place.”
The research is part of the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, which is the largest multi-wavelength survey so far. The team has presented their work at the International Astronomical Union XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, Hawaii. The team also hopes to expand the work, mapping energy production over the entire history of the Universe.