Scientists have assumed our universe is young, but now they're saying it's middle aged and will stop expanding and start collapsing fairly soon. Of course, "soon" in astronomical terms means billions of years in the future. Right now, a mysterious "dark energy" is pushing the universe apart, but when this force loses its power, the cosmos will collapse.
In 1998, astronomers discovered that not only was the universe expanding, it was doing it at an ever-faster rate. This was based on observations of supernovae, which are exploding stars on the other side of the universe. Einstein theorized that there is a form of ?dark energy? in space that is pushing everything apart. If the universe kept expanding forever, all the galaxies would move so far apart from one another that they?d become isolated islands. The idea of distant space travel would end.
The new theory of the future of the universe doesn?t deny that it?s expanding, but predicts that this acceleration will end and be followed by a cosmic collapse in a 10 to 20 billion years. According to professor Andrei Linde and his wife Renata Kallosh, "The standard vision at the moment is that the universe is speeding up so we were surprised to find that a collapse could happen within such a short amount of time?The universe may be doomed to collapse and disappear."
The couple has figured out that the universe is about 14 billion years old, which is middle aged. Linde says, "?Now we see that we might be, not in the beginning, but in the middle of the life cycle of our universe." The good news is, "We still have a lot of time to find out whether this (collapse) is going to happen."
The ancient Mayans knew more about the stars that we have known until very recently. How did they learn all this? Find out from ?Galactic Alignment? by John Major Jenkins, click here.
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