Science & Tech

Looking toward the end

1 min read

Frozen future forecast for the universe

Among astronomers there is almost a consensus that universal expansion will go on forever, with galaxies and clusters of galaxies moving away from each other so fast that gravity cannot ever pull them together. Since 1998, astronomers have found good evidence that this expansion is accelerating, that galaxies are separating at ever-increasing speed. But what will that mean for people here on Earth, far in the future? Abraham Loeb, a professor of astronomy at Harvard, asked himself that question. “What will people, looking at the sky billions of years from now, see?” he wondered. “I started doing some calculations — they took a day or two — and I got some interesting results.” What he concluded is that images of faraway galaxies will become frozen in time. Because Earth will keep moving away, the galaxies eventually will appear fainter and fainter. “Fifty to 100 billion years from now, the universe will be a dark and lonely place,” Loeb concludes.