What is the story of our universe? Where did it come from? What will happen to it in time?
Humanity has pondered these questions from the dawn of intelligence. It is in our nature to question and seek answers, to all unknown. May be some day we will find the answers to all of these questions. For now, I will share some things that our scientists already know and some that are theories for now. And, I will also share what I think of one question in particular – What will happen to our universe?
The Big Bang –
Big Bang is the accepted phenomenon by which the universe we know today, came into being. In short, Big Bang is the point in time, when our universe sprung into existence, from one single point of origin. This single event caused all matter, all energy and anti-matter to be released from a single point. All that we know of in the universe was compressed into this point, and then released to give birth to the universe. Ancient Indian philosophers, describe this point as “sunyatha” or zero, or nothing. From this nothing, arose all that we can see and all that we can’t.
After the birth, as the things started to cool down, the particles formed mass and coalesced to form matter, which further came together to form the stars and galaxies. No one knows what happened to the anti-matter, which must have formed in the equal quantity of matter. The matter by the way, is only 5% of the known visible universe. The rest is dark matter 20% and dark energy 75%.
The dark matter – The existence of this dark matter was theorized by a theoretical physicist Peter Higgs and his colleagues in the early 1960s, however, astrophysicists in the 30s, assumed that there must be something missing from the calculation, as the calculated mass of galaxies and their gravity was not enough to hold them together. They calculated the mass of the number of stars and their corresponding gravity, and to their surprise, it was not enough to keep the galaxy in place, it would fall apart. Today’s astrophysicist have used super computers to simulate a galaxy formation and without the addition of the gravitational effect from dark matter, the galaxy would fall apart each time. The Large Hadron Collider of CERN, has finally proven the existence of the dark matter by discovering Higgs Boson – also called the God Particle. This is truly a milestone for the Standard Model. Read more about Dark Matter at CERN.
The dark energy is called so, because we do not know much about it. We know that there is something that is causing the galaxies to go further away from one another, at an accelerating rate. This is also called the expansion theory or inflation, which just states that our observable universe is expanding and the galaxies are moving farther away from each other, at an accelerating pace. Dark Energy is presumed to be the unknown form of energy which is hypothesized to permeate all of space, tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe. Read more about dark energy on Wikipedia. The force that opposes dark energy is gravity. And when we speak of gravity, we have to talk about Black Holes.
Black Holes also also one of the least known cosmic master piece. They are so called because nothing can escape it’s gravitational pull, not even light. Once you cross the point of no return, called the even horizon, there is no coming back, not even for light, which is why we can’t see through them. Their immense gravity pulls all matter into a single point, and possibly converts matter into energy. Some Black Holes are seen spitting gamma rays, after consuming matter from a gas cloud or consuming a star.
So what will happen to our Universe?
- Will it continue to expand into the void forever, doing a delicate dance with gravity?
- Will it continue to expand into the void, slowing down the rate of expansion, and then collapsing after it reaches a point where Gravity takes over and dark energy begins to fade?
- Will it continue to expand at an accelerating pace and then rip apart? OR
- Will it take another course?
I believe that anything that is born (starting point – Big Bang), has to come to an END. And this is how it may happen.
I believe that the Universe will one day go back to being compressed into a single point. But what can compress all that is known – all the galaxies, dark matter, etc into a single point? We have seen super massive black holes in the center of many large galaxies, like our own Milky Way and our bigger neighbor – Andromeda galaxy. These Black Holes are massive enough to consume stars and just burp from the meal. An interesting feature of Black Holes is that two Black Holes can collide and become a bigger Black Hole. So when the expansion reaches its maximum point, it will start to compress. Just like the effect of an explosion – you have an immediate expansion of gasses that blow up in all direction, but when the energy has run out, it contracts. This will cause the Black Holes to get closer to each other, collide and become bigger each time. Until we have a Black Hole so massive, that it consumes the entire universe, which would by now be compressing at an accelerating pace. What will come out at the other end of that Black Hole will be a the birth of a new Universe – another Big Bang.
I am not a Physicist, so this is not an academic article. The above paragraph in Italics, is just my imagination of what might happen to our universe.