As is the nature of existence, what comes, must go as well and the universe as we know it will one day be no more. Obviously, this thought sounds very strange to comprehend, as we have seen objects and living beings die on our planet but to think our planet and the space containing it will perish is hard to digest. But, it is likely going to happen. Will it be a humongous boom, a silent expiry, or the decay? There are many ways our Universe can cease to exist.
What is the Universe?
Before diving into the end of it, let’s figure out what the universe really is. But here’s the thing, it is neither a thing nor a state. It just is. Because from the tiniest atom to the colossal stars everything is within the universe. It is such a concept that just leaves us scratching our heads because our brains just do not have the ability to understand how can everything be just there without any boundaries or logic. This is both the mystery and the beauty of the universe. Here are three ways astrophysicists believe our universe will end.
The Big Rip
The thing to keep in mind is that the universe is expanding rapidly since the big bang and that expansion is accelerating with every passing minute. It is likely that in the far future, about millions upon millions of years after us the universe may rip apart. The theory behind this is that gravity, no matter what the objects it holds everything together. Also, it works up to a certain distance, and after that, its effects stop. If the expansion continues it is likely that the planets and even galaxies will be so far spread out that their gravity will just fail and all of these astral bodies will just deteriorate into their basic composition. At first, relatively large objects like planets will be torn apart and later the dense and heavier objects such as black holes will dissolve into their basic elements. At this stage, tiny particles will be moving faster than the speed of light away from each other in an empty space.
Contrary to the name it is not the end of the universe by heat waves or radiation, but actually the death of all hot sources. It is also known as the big freeze. The theory here is that each and every system whether it is be cooking, electricity production, or the existence of our solar system is done by some sort of heat. Since the heat sources are giving off energy in space and cold spaces are utilizing it, after billions of years there will be no more heat source remaining in the universe and slowly it will turn dark. After some more millions of years of lack of heat source, the universe will just cease to exist.
The Big Crunch
Astrophysicists believe that dark energy is responsible for the expansion of the universe. A type of energy that is neither visible in any circumstance and nor can be experienced. Although its characteristics are unknown, it is believed that at some point it will slowly start to decrease. As the dark energy slowly declines, the only strong force remaining will be gravity which will start increasing proportionally. And it will become so strong that even gigantic astral bodies will collide with one another and this intense pressure will result in massive black holes. It doesn’t end here, later on, all of these black holes just form together into a celestial black hole spanning to the size of the universe in itself, how big it may be. Finally, it is going to devour itself and everything becomes nothing.
Even though these are not going to happen in our lifetime it is still chilling to think of the end. However, some theories such as The Big Bounce theory, suggest that this has happened countless times before. The universe is just born and ends and this cycle just keeps ongoing. Whatever it might be, we know one thing for sure that the universe is a very strange place and it cannot be known fully.