Our Universe will cease to exist in 22 billion years. The scientists presented several ways and theories regarding the universe’s inevitable end.
The Big Rip –Perhaps the most common theory is that the universe will eventually tear itself apart.
It has been constantly expanding since its theorised formation almost 14 billion years ago with galaxies moving further away from each other all the time.
The space in between the galaxies could be being filled by dark energy, which is believed to counter the effects of gravity.
With more dark matter, the effects of gravity become weaker, causing the universe to expand at a quicker and quicker rate, until its pace reaches the speed of light.
With gravity not strong enough to hold everything in place, galaxies would begin to rip apart, followed by black holes, stars, until everything has been torn apart yo a point where it is just particles floating around.
The Big Crunch and the Big Bounce – Rather than expanding into nothingness, some quarters believe that dark energy may become weaker or less in volume over time, allowing gravity to win the battle.
If this happens, the strength of gravity will cause everything to contract on itself.
This could take trillions of years, but it would mean that galaxies begin to collide, causing the temperature of the universe will rise rapidly.
Such will be the heat that even stars would be fried.
Moments before the Big Crunch, atoms would tear apart under the intense pressure before black holes swallow everything – including themselves, merging into one big black hole that eventually consumes itself.
However, some believe that this is not the end and that the universe has been through this cycle before.
Once the universe is at its most compact point, it could be that particles smash into each other, once again causing the Big Bang, making everything expand once more and thus the universe repeats in a theory known as The Big Bounce.
Heat Death – Much like the Big Rip, the Heat Death, otherwise known as The Big Freeze, theory suggests that the universe will continue to expand, but rather than ripping apart, it will expand until it is nothing.
As it becomes bigger, matter and energy are evenly spread throughout the universe until temperature begins to decline until it reaches absolute zero.
Additionally, as energy, matter and raw materials are spread too far apart, there is not enough concentrated energy to create new stars.
The old stars will die out one by one, causing the universe to go pitch black as if nothing is there.
The Big Slurp – A more recent theory that has come to light is the idea of The Big Slurp.
The theory came about after a Higgs-like particle was discovered in 2012 which is thought to give everything mass and could suggest that the universe is in an unstable state.
If it is in an unstable state, in billions of years it could tip over the edge, causing a bubble to appear, possibly from another universe.
The bubble will begin to expand at a rapid rate, annihilating everything in its path, making way for a new universe.
The universe is eternal – While the Big Bang Theory is largely accepted, it has never been proven leading to some suggestions that the universe and time have and always will be there.
Satellites such as the Planck Satellite, have been sent into space to monitor patterns in background radiation for which different levels would point to how and if the universe was created at a single point in time.
If they can correctly monitor radiation, scientists will be able to tell when the universe began and how or if it will end.