Feb 13th: The Big Rip is Coming, Look Busy!

By on February 13, 2019 in
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Podcaster: Richard Drumm
Title:
Space Scoop: The Big Rip is Coming, Look Busy!

Organization: 365 Days Of Astronomy

Link : astrosphere.org ; http://unawe.org/kids/unawe1903/

Description: Space scoop, news for children. 

Our Universe is going to continue expanding faster and faster, possibly heading towards a “Big Rip”.

In 22 billion years, the same energy source that is pushing space to accelerate its expansion could literally tear apart all the galaxies, stars and even the atoms in our Universe!

Bio: Richard Drumm is President of the Charlottesville Astronomical Society and President of 3D – Drumm Digital Design, a video production company with clients such as Kodak, Xerox and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. He was an observer with the UVa Parallax Program at McCormick Observatory in 1981 & 1982. He has found that his greatest passion in life is public outreach astronomy and he pursues it at every opportunity.

Today’s sponsor: This episode of 365 days Of Astronomy is sponsored by William Andrews, a fan of Cosmoquest. On February 13 the following things in space science history happened:

  • 1633 Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for his trial
  • 1923 Chuck Yeager who flew the X-1 was born
  • 1937 Sigmund Jaehn the first Germany astronaut was born
  • 1939 Valeri Rozhdestvensky, who flew on Soyuz 23 was born
  • 1942 Donald Williams, who flew on STS-51-D & 34 (which launched the Galileo spacecraft) was born
  • 1964 Stephen Bowen was born, he flew on STS-126, 132, and 133, first and only astronaut to fly consecutive shuttle missions
  • 2004, Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093, called “Lucy”
  • 2012 the European Space Agency conducted the first launch of the European Vega rocket

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Transcript:
This is the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast. Today we bring you a new episode in our Space Scoop series. This show is produced in collaboration with Universe Awareness, a program that strives to inspire every child with our wonderful cosmos.

The Big Rip is Coming, Look Busy!

For thousands of years, people have been asking the same questions about the Universe we live in. Does the Universe go on forever or does it have an edge? Has it always existed and if not, how old is it?

Around 100 years ago, Georges Lemaître and Edwin Hubble made a major discovery that helped us to answer these questions: they discovered that the Universe is growing.

The discovery told us that the Universe has not always been the same size, and it probably hasn’t always even been here. Most scientists now believe that the Universe began in a Big Bang around 13.8 billion years ago.

Since then, the Universe has been expanding outward. The Universe we see today is waaaaay bigger than it was when it was very young.

We can see that galaxies are all moving away from each other, and the ones that are farther away are moving faster. This is what we’d expect to see in an expanding Universe.

Not only that, but the Universe is growing faster over time. It’s expansion is accelerating.

To better understand how the Universe is changing, we need to look back to when its growth spurt really began, in its, well, teen-age years, 9 billion years ago.

Looking back in time can be tricky but it’s not impossible. We just need to find very bright, very distant objects, and we need to know exactly how bright they really are. 

Because of the inverse square law, things are dimmer the farther away they are, so knowing their intrinsic brightness allows us to work out how far away an object is.

Turns out, a gas-guzzling, feeding supermassive black hole would do the trick. We call these AGNs or active galactic nuclei, or ‘quasars’ and they shine bright enough to be seen from 12 billion light years away! 

However until very recently we were missing a key piece of information about quasars — their intrinsic brightness.

Astronomers have now found a way to work out exactly how bright some quasars are, providing us with a way to fill in a gap in the cosmic timeline. And it’s revealed some exciting and scary things…

Our Universe is going to continue expanding faster and faster, possibly heading towards a “Big Rip”. 

In 22 billion years, the same energy source that is pushing space to accelerate its expansion could literally tear apart all the galaxies, stars and even the atoms in our Universe!

Hey, Here’s A Cool Fact:Other ideas on how the Universe will end include the Big Crunch and the Big Freeze. 

The Big Crunch says the Universe will one day stop expanding then start collapsing under its own gravity and crunch into a reverse of the Big Bang. 
It might happen that the Universe would rebound from the crunch in a new Big Bang, creating a new Universe.

Evidence suggests that this is not what’s going to happen.

The Big Freeze would happen if the Universe keeps expanding until all the galaxies, stars and planets will be pulled so far from one another that the night sky seems dark and empty no matter where in the Universe you are.
Then over billions and trillions of years the stars would run out of fuel, die out and the Universe would grow cold.

It’d be hard to be an extragalactic astronomer then! You could only study Milkdromeda, the combined Milky Way and Andromeda elliptical galaxy.
If the conditions are just right, and dark energy increases without limit, the Big Rip happens. The accelerating expansion of the Universe will continue and the scale factor of the Universe, and all distances in the Universe, will be increasing exponentially.

The part of the Universe that’s moving away from us at the speed of light as the expansion proceeds becomes the edge of the observable Universe. 
And because the expansion is accelerating, this edge moves closer to us.
But not only light would be unable to traverse the distance, also gravity and all the other forces, including the fundamental forces of physics, from beyond that horizon would be forever cut off from us.

As the accelerating expansion continues, with 60 million years left before the Big Rip, all galaxies would disassociate. The stars would drift away from the supermassive black hole in the center of their galaxy.

Gravity travels at the speed of light also and wouldn’t be able to hold the galaxies together.

With about 3 months left in the Universe, solar systems would disassociate and the planets would fly away from their stars. 

Then half an hour before the end, the planets will fall apart. Mountains will turn to gravel and then dust.

Finally, with a tiny fraction of a second left, the strong nuclear force will be unable to keep atoms together, then even the quarks will break apart.
All distances become infinite and spacetime is ripped apart. 

Time stops.

Whoa!

Thank you for listening to the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast!

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Planetary Science Institute. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. This year we will celebrates the Year of Everyday Astronomers as we embrace Amateur Astronomer contributions and the importance of citizen science. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!

About Richard B. Drumm

Richard Drumm is President of the Charlottesville Astronomical Society and President of 3D – Drumm Digital Design, a video production company with clients such as Kodak, Xerox and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. He was an observer with the UVa Parallax Program at McCormick Observatory in 1981 & 1982. He’s found that his greatest passion in life is public outreach astronomy and he pursues it at every opportunity.

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