Study: Universe on course to die of exhaustion in about 100 billion years

Study: Universe on course to die of exhaustion in about 100 billion years
Nebula between Earth and the Constellation Centaurus where a white dwarf star went missing in the last decade (although probably not due to curling up and becoming a couch potato). (Image: NASA, H. Bond and K. Exter via astronomynow.com)

[Ed. – Give or take.]

Based on observations of the galaxies over 21 different wavelengths of light, which allowed researchers to calculate their energy output, their rate of star formation and the rate at which they merged with one another, astronomers have concluded that the universe is dimming. Just 2 billion years ago, they report, the energy being produced in the section of the universe they studied was twice what it is today.

“The universe is curling up on the sofa and becoming a couch potato,” study author Joe Liske of the European Southern Observatory told the Guardian. …

Here’s what’s happening, in a nutshell: The universe reached its peak period of star formation a long, long time ago. There just isn’t as much raw material to work with as there used to be. The laws of physics are such that usable energy will increasingly waste away into forms that stars can’t use, like heat. …

[L]ead researcher Simon Driver of the University of Western Australia told the Los Angeles Times… “In about 5 billion years the sun is going to swell up and swallow the Earth; in about 10 billion years it’s going to collide with the nearest [major] galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy; and in about 100 billion years the universe will be so expanded and producing so little light that we basically won’t see anything.”

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