Death of the universe?(7 End)

Death of the universe?(7 End)

Astronomers have much to learn about the influence of dark energy and dark matter.And much of the newest information is coming from this probe in deep space.It's sending back information that's helping scientists to interpret the history and the fate of the universe.The night sky by all appearance is a quiet and peaceful place.But in reality there are forces that are driving it to an end.Big Science moves astronomers closer to deciphering the universe's great mysteries.Including its ultimate fate.

The solution to the universe's riddle may well be hidden in this multi-colored image.What's incredible is that it's a map of the early universe from the moment it was conceived.And even more fantastic, it reveals a great story that helps cosmologists predict how it will end?The machine that captured this is called WMAP a NASA satellite that's working around the clock to chart the cosmos.

WMAP is one of the great astronomical breakthroughs of the 21st Century.Nothing before it could give us such a clear image of the energy leftover from the Big Bang.Energy that scientist call the cosmic microwave background.WMAP is measuring temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background which may finally make it possible to predict which force will dominate the universe and how that force will bring the cosmos to its end.

Temperature difference revealed by WMAP tell scientists about the nature of the matter and energy that is contained within the universe.They're able to be analyze the light patterns and find clues not only about the substance but also the fate of the universe.We only capture a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum with our eyes.And we have to go with much longer wavelengths.Same wavelengths that are used to heat in a microwave oven are what we're measureing here with WMAP.

WMAP is so precise that it can detect differences in temptures as small as one one-thousandth of a degree.This sensitivity helps scientists to calaulate the ratio of dark matter to dark energy.Force that will determine how the universe ends.

Pulling away from the probe and following the path of the light it is collecting, we pass Mars, Jupiter and Saturn whose reflected light takes over an hour to reach Earth.Then leaving the Milky Way, we pass Andromeda, the next nearest galaxy, whose light takes 2.3 million years to reach us.Which means we have traveled 2.3 million years back in time.

And finally we arrive back thirteen billion years ago at the beginning of visible light.Before that super heated hydrogen gas is everywhere.WMAP can see this far back in history.It's confirming important facts about the universe and what's driving it to its demise.The final act for the universe becomes more easily predicted thanks to WMAP.It's information combined with the work of astronomers has led to some astounding discoveries concerning a rapidly expanding universe.Rapid expansion supports the dark energy theory and the possibility of a Big Chill or Big Rip.

We now know from all the data we've had in the last ten years that there's by a factor of two to one more dark energy than dark matter.So dark energy is the dominant constituent of energy in the universe.The evidence seems clear.Dark energy is taking over and is leading astronomers into new thoughts about the beginning and the end of the universe.

Before the discovery of dark energy, things were a lot simple.If we could determine the amount of matter in the universe then we could say something about its ultimate destiny.Those simple days are gone.But the proof is adding up and supports the idea that the universe will continue to expand.But will it do so to oblivion? We've made huge strides over the last century is learning somethng about evolution of the universe and its expansion.But we've now raised more questions in some sense than we've been able to answer.And so the next decade's going to be even more exciting.

The battle between dark matter and dark energy is expected to go on for billions of years.And humans will be long gone from Earth when the final outcome occurs.But no pursuit has been more significant to science than understanding how the universe arrived, how it works and how it will end.It's a never ending quest.It's a driving astronomy.What are the answers to these profound questions? The constituents of the universe, the nature of dark matter and perhaps the biggest mystery of all, what is the ultimate fate of the universe?

Death of the universe?(1)
Death of the universe?(2)
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Death of the universe?(6)

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