TAMPA (CBS Tampa) – An international team of astronomers have reached an unsettling conclusion about our universe: it is slowly dying.
Using some of the most powerful observatories on the planet, and two NASA telescopes in orbit, astronomers studied more than 200,000 galaxies, says a press release for the European Southern Observatory.
They made measurements of the energy output of a section of the nearby universe and found the amount of energy produced today is only about half of what it was 2 billion years ago.
The energy fade was measured across 21 different wavelengths, from ultraviolet to the far infrared.
The universe won’t actually go anywhere, but everything in it that gives off light, heat and any other kind of energy will go dark.
“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,” explained study author Simon Driver. “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.”
Scientists have known the universe is losing energy since the late 1990s, but this is the first time they’ve shown the energy loss is happening across different wavelengths.
“The universe will decline from here on in, sliding gently into old age.”explained Driver. “The universe has basically sat down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket and is about to nod off for an eternal doze.”
But we probably won’t have to worry about it, since the process will take trillions of years.
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