About the Universe at TheStarVoyager.com
  | About the Universe| Jukebox| LinkToUs|


Return
   
End of the Universe

The Big Bang
Early Universe
Life and Death of Stars
Galaxy Formation
The Solar System
Exotic objects
End of the Universe
Who created the universe?
What is Time?
Life beyond Earth
NASA Missions
Particle Map
Glossary
Sources
Possible ends of the Universe
There are a handful of competing theories concerning how the Universe might come to a final end. We are not talking about the "edge" of the Universe and we are not considering what might lie beyond that edge, rather, we are contemplating the prospects for the Universe coming to its final end of existence and for all matter, time and energy to cease to exist and to return back to a state of pure nothingness. This is a weighty thought to ponder. An equally difficult to answer question is "what came before the Universe began?". We have already discussed this question in the opening chapter of the "About the Universe" website under the heading "The Big Bang". This discussion will concentrate on the consideration of the prospects for the Universe coming to its final end and how that might happen in a physical sense.

The density of the Universe is at the crux of this question. At the time of the Big Bang, a singularity popped into existence (from nothing?) and initially its density was infinite (?). The heat of the singularity was also infinite. Its size, on the other hand was infinitessimally small. Intervals of time were unmeasurably brief and the first moments of the Universe after the Big Bang began were divided into intervals measured in Planck Time. From the Big Bang until the present day, the Universe has been inflating (expanding) as the fabric of spacetime between objects grows larger and objects appear to move away from each other. The objects are not actually moving away from us, but the spacetime between them is inflating (expanding). This inflation (expansion) has been in progress since the very beginning and the rate of the expansion has been accelerating continuously. This means that the objects that are farther away from each other appear to be moving faster than those that are closer.

It has been observed that the distance between certain objects in space is larger than the speed of light would allow. In other words there has not been enough time since the Big Bang for the distance between these objects to be achieved. How is this possible? It is possible because the objects are not actually "moving" away from each other. If the objects were actually moving, then general relativity would govern the increasing distance between the "moving objects", the cosmic speed limit would apply and the distance between them would be limited to that distance that could be achieved by the objects moving at the speed of light. In actuality, it is spacetime that is inflating (no motion is ocurring), placing more space between the objects and causing them to be farther apart. In an expansion of spacetime, there is no relative motion to be observed by an outside observer and, therefore, the speed of light does not apply.

Having presented the background information that describes the current status of objects in the Universe, we can now proceed to discuss the unique theories that seek to describe the prospects and mechanisms for the Universe to come to an end. In the sidebar menu (the main menu), Select "Big Crunch" under the topic "End of the Universe". Once the Big Crunch page is displayed, clicking on the "Previous" and "Next" buttons will cycle you through the discussions of the various theories covered by this website.