Physicist Matt Caplan calculates how long before the universe ends

Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock. The eternal clock of the universe keeps clicking at the seconds, even in strange times like these, when work weeks fly by like hours and months are a silent blur.

But just to put things in perspective for how unintentional our strictly defined daily blocks of time really are, one curious scientist has devised a formula to predict exactly when cosmic existence will finally come to a frightening halt and the definitive supernova is missing.

Hint: the hypothetical number of years has as a bazillion zeros!

Theoretical physicist Matt Caplan, an assistant professor of physics at Illinois State University, acknowledges that humanity will be long gone if this lonely parting occurs in an impossibly distant future that is difficult to wrap around the mind – if at all. celestial lights darken, black holes dominate, and bright stars flicker out forever.

“It will be a bit of a sad, lonely, cold place,” Caplan states. ‘It is known as‘ heat death ’, where the universe will be mostly black holes and burnt out stars. I became a physicist for one reason. I wanted to think about the big questions – why is the universe here, and how will it end? ”

In a new research paper published August 7 in the journal Monthly announcements from the Royal Astronomical Society, Caplan did some heavy duty of number shrinking and tried to calculate how dead stars may change and evolve over time. In doing so, he came to an unreasonable conclusion about when that depressing event could subside.

Caplan’s findings begin with a rough estimate of how much built-up iron black dwarfs of varying sizes would need an explosion. He calculated that the initial “black dwarf supernova” would detonate in about 10 to 1100 years.

“Over the years, it’s like saying the word ‘trillion’ almost a hundred times,” he explained. “If you wrote it out, it would take up most of a page. It’s mindbogglingly far in the future.

“Stars less than about 10 times the mass of the sun do not have the weight or density to produce iron in their nuclei as mass stars do, so they can not explode in a supernova at the moment. While white dwarfs will cool down over the next few trillion years, they will become dimmer, eventually freeze solid and become ‘black dwarf’ stars that no longer shine. Stars shine because of thermonuclear fusion – they are hot enough to merge small nuclei to form larger nuclei, which release energy. White dwarfs are like, they are burnt out, but fusion reactions can still occur due to quantum tunneling, only much slower. ”

Caplan postulates that the most gigantic black dwarfs will first POP, then a declining number of more declining stars until there are none left, which he expects to be in about 10 ^ 32,000 years. That’s one neck string zeros!

“It’s hard to imagine anything coming after that,” he said. “Black dwarf supernova is perhaps the last interesting thing to happen in the universe. They may be the last supernova ever. Galaxies will have scattered, black holes will have evaporated, and the expansion of the universe will have pulled all remaining objects so far apart that not one of the others will ever explode. It will not even be physically possible for light to travel that far. ”

They say that all good things should end, and apparently it is no different for our universe either. Now, make your last years extraordinary!