End Of the Universe, but let’s start with how it all began. Scientists theorize that the entire universe began with something called the ‘Big Bang’ – what may be described, in layman’s terms, as a vast explosion of matter and energy from a single point in space that gave birth to atoms, molecules, and the universe as we know it.
What caused the Big Bang, or how exactly it happened and when is a matter of ongoing scientific debate. We know for sure that all that begins must come to an end one day. The universe, vast and immeasurable though it might be, is no exception to this rule of the ultimate demise of all matter.
The only question that remains now that we know how the universe began is how it will end?
There are three widely accepted theories among the scientific community regarding what might cause the end of the universe in the distant future. Here are the 3 Ways in Which the Universe Might End.
1. The Big Rip (End of the Universe)
The universe is constantly expanding equally in all directions. However, it is stranger than constantly growing, but the expansion rate is constantly accelerating. This means that everything in the universe moves farther and farther away from everything else at an ever-increasing pace. It is a fascinating thought. We do not know what force causes this constant and accelerating expansion or even how this force works – hence we call it ‘Dark Energy.’
A section of cosmologists believes that the universe’s expansion rate will continue to accelerate indefinitely. This means that all galaxies will move farther and farther away. Not only that, but the space within a single universe will also continue to expand at a growing pace.
At present, the force of gravity holds the galaxies together. Still, once the universe’s expansion rate outpaces the force of gravity, this will mean that constellations and planetary systems within a galaxy will move apart faster than gravity can hold them together. As a result, galaxies will be ripped apart, their unity disintegrating as all the parts that make up the whole is thrown helter-skelter by an ever-expanding cosmos.
Later, smaller bodies such as stars, planets, and even black holes will be ripped apart, as their gravitational cores would not be strong enough to hold them together.
Once the expansion speed grows even faster, it will affect the very atoms and molecules themselves. The atoms would disband into their particulate matter. Molecules would no longer exist.
Once the speed of the expansion crosses the speed of light, no particle in the universe will ever be able to interact with any other particle, leading to an eternity of a vast and ever-expanding cosmos full of individual particles that can never touch another particle. And thus, the universe would end; in a dark and lonely place.
2. The Big Crunch (End of the Universe)
Yet another group of cosmologists believes that the universe would end in a way that is ultimately the opposite of the Big Rip. This is based on the assumption that there is only a limited amount of ‘dark energy’ in the universe and that this energy will sooner or later run out. The universe’s expansion would slow down and eventually reverse when this happens.
In the absence of dark energy, gravitational forces shall rule the universe, and the universe would start contracting as the matter would be pulled together by gravity. As the universe contracted and the matter concentration increased, so would the temperatures. Thousands of years before the Big Crunch, the universe’s background radiation would be hotter than the surface of the hottest star at the current time.
All matter would start banging into each other and contracting due to the constant gravitational pull. Planets would be ripped out of their orbits. Eventually, the contraction would give rise to the formation of numerous gigantic black holes that would swallow up everything around them.
Before the Big Crunch, all the black holes would merge into one massive, ultra-large black hole that would swallow up every particle in the universe and eventually even itself. As the entire cosmos collapses in on itself in the form of a giant black hole, so shall end the universe as we know it.
3. The Big Freeze (End of the Universe)
The Big Freeze may be the most mundane and unexciting of the three scenarios, yet the most likely. A school of thought in the scientific community believes that the universe will neither be ripped apart by dark energy nor be crunched to nothingness by gravity. Instead, it will just burn out, this is called entropy, and all physical systems evolve towards a condition of maximum possible entropy.
This school of thought believes that the universe would continue to expand, consequently taking cosmic bodies farther and farther away from each other. Eventually, the gas clouds that give rise to stars would exhaust all their energy.
The existing stars would burn for a while and then die out. The universe would become a cold, dark, and lonely place, populated only by black holes until even they disintegrate billions of years into nothingness.
As no new photon particles formed, the universe would descend into total, frigid and lifeless darkness, thus reaching maximum entropy. The disintegration of the universe would therefore be complete. It would die not with a bang but with a whimper.
We do not know how and when the universe would be destroyed or how it would happen. But while scientists are working hard to figure that out, make sure your life is fantastic enough that the universe is glad to have existed just to have made you happen!