The Five Ages of the Universe- Quotes
I read a very interesting book titled "The Five Ages of the Universe" by Fred Adams and Greg Laughlin, and it explains the five ages of our Universe, how it has evolved and what its future will be like. It does look pretty bleak, so enjoy the skies now while you can...or we can at least. Here are excerpts that I thought were well-put, so read 'em!
- The Stelliferous Era comes to a close when the galaxies run out of hydrogen gas, star formation ceases, and the longest-lived red dwarfs slowly fade away. When the stars finally stop shining, the universe will be about one hundred trillion years old.
- During the 13th cosmological decade, stars are shining brightly and the universe is an energetic place. After the 14th cosmological decade, the stars have gone out and the universe will appear much darker to human eyes.
- Approximately one hundred billion particles are passing through you every second. Because the particles interact only through the weak force , and because the weak force is very weak, these particles pass right through all types of matter with essentially no effect.
- Blach holes are thus a bit like the vault in a bank. Information locked up inside the event horizon is spirited away from the rest of the universe. However, the bank vault has a key and someone can remove the information, or perhaps the cash, stored within. For a black hole, no one has a key. The information is locked away forever...or rather, almost forever.
- With only a million or so stellar black holes in our galaxy, the chance that black hole will collide with Earth is far too low to cause much concern. The odds of a direct collision are roughly one part in 10^26 per year. Nevertheless, we can describe the sequence of events that would transpire if by some monstrously unlucky coincience a two-solar-mass black hole is on a collision course with Earth...The intruding black hole formed during the death of a massive star in the disk of our galaxy. It rushes thru space toward Earth with a speed of several kilometers per second. The first indirect hints of a encroaching black hole come millennia before the actual collision. As the tiny behemoth passes though the Oort cloud, the diffuse sphere of comets surrounding the Sun, it dislodges comets from their orbits. Some are thrown into deep space, large numbers enlisted into ordibt around the black hole, while others are dispatched toward the inner solar system to lend occasional brilliant displays to the nighttime skies. Centuries before the black hole's arrival, astronomers notice sizeable changes in the orbits of the outer planets as they respond to the black hole's gravitational influence. By examining how the planets stray from their predicted orbits, astronomers can deduce the location, the mass, and the speed of the incoming hole. It would be immediately clear that the interloping object is no ordinary star. A star of two solar masses charging thru the outer reaches of the Oort cloud would appear as bright as a streetlight a few blocks away. Arguments might arise as to whether we faced the arrival of a black hole or a neutron star, but these squabbles pale next to the realization that an object the twice the Sun's mass is headed for the core of the solar system...Telescopes trained int he direction of the black hole register bizarre flucations in the brightness of background stars and galaxies. Viewed from afar, a black hole acts like a lens because its gravity warps space-time so as to magnify and distort the images of object lying along the line of sight. Stargazers might take rueful pleasure in the stunning precision afforded by the impinging the uninvited telescope...Meanwhile, calculations of the black hole's trajectory prove truly alarming. A dreafully vlose encounter is assured, with a direct collision squarely within the realm of possibility. As the black hole crosses the orbit of Pluto, the planets engage in wild deviationf from their normal orderly courses. Jupiter and Uranus are captured by the black hole, while Saturn and Neptune are flung out to uncharted realms of interstellar space. These banished planets are destined for lonely travels spanning trillions of years between significant encounters with other solar systems...From Earth's unfortunate vantage point, the black hole approaches from the opposite side of the Sun. The combined gravity of the Sun and the black hole pull the Earth through a distorted echo of an ordinary year. In a matter of weeks, the Sun draws closer to Earth than at any other time in 4.6 billion years of terrestrial history. Earth has circled evenly around the Sun for nearly half the age of the cosmos. Now, over the course of a few final days, all that orderly clockwork is ruined. A stunned humanity wrestles with tis collective fate. As the Sun scorches the continents, Antartic ice melts with alarming rapidity and swamps the coastel cities. Hurricanes of unpredented force rage over the seas...The end falls quickly. Oberserved thru a telescope, the black hole appears like a psychedelic comet, surrounded by faintly glowing gas and warped images of background stars and galaxies. In the final hour, real havos begins. As the tidal forces of the black hole take hold, the side of Earth facing the black hole is pulled with greater force, and the planet becomes grossly deformed. Stresses mounts in the crust and earthquakes rock the surface. Six, seven, eight, nine...the Richter scale is outstripped by stupendeous temblors. Tsuamis wash over continents. The planetary crust rips apart along old fault lines, and patches of colid rock float on the scorching lava of the deforming planet. Earth is pulled like taffy into a disk of vaporized rock which forms a whirlpool in its stamoede to enter the impinging black hole. The energy released during the final demise is visible beyond the galaxy.
- We must be careful about what we mean by our universe and other universes. In this contrast, our universe is the entire region of space-time that causally connected. In other words, if you had a spacecraft that could travel at light speed, and you had the entire age of the universe to travel, our universe would contain all of the places you could visit. If you were able to travel inside the event horzion of a black hole, you would never be able to return to our universe.
- If all the black holes evaporate, the universe surrenders one of its major threads of continuity. The explosive end of the last black hole marks a tru watershed event. For a few hours, a tiny corner of the cosmos is steeped in bright light. For the last time, if eyes like ours were present, they could actually see. As the final high-energy particles from the explosion rush away at the speed of light, the darkness closing over the universe is truly final.
- This glimpse into the future offers an extreme change in perspective. Measured by the clock of a human lifetime, or even the current ten-billion-year age of the universe, the proton lifetime is so long that we usually consider them to live forever.
- In a mounting inversion of Hubble's law, some galaxies would approach our galaxy rather than recede from it. Only this curious trend of blueshifts would reveal to astronomers a glimpse of the impending catastrophe.
- Although our comfortable world is destined to pass away, a wide variety of fascinating physical, astronomical, biological, and perhaps even intellectual events are waiting to unfold as our universe continues its voyage into the dark.