May 24, 2007 -- When Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter proposed a static model of the
universe in the early 1900s, he was some 3 trillion years ahead of his
physicists Lawrence Krauss from Case Western Reserve University and
Robert J. Scherrer from Vanderbilt University predict that trillions of
years into the future, the information that currently allows us to
understand how the universe expands will have disappeared over the
visible horizon. What remains will be "an island universe" made from
the Milky Way and its nearby galactic Local Group neighbors in an
overwhelmingly dark void.
The researchers' article, "The Return of the Static Universe and the
End of Cosmology," was awarded one of the top prizes for 2007 by the
Gravity Research Foundation. It will be published in the October issue
of the Journal of Relativity and Gravitation.
of the future will be able to infer that their island universe has not
been eternal, it is unlikely they will be able to infer that the
beginning involved a Big Bang," report the researchers.
to Krauss, since Edwin Hubble advanced his expanding universe
observations in 1929, the "pillars of the modern Big Bang" have been
built on measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation from
the afterglow of the early universe formation, movement of galaxies
away from the Local Group and evidence of the abundance of elements
produced in the primordial universe, as well as theoretical inferences
based on Einstein's General Relativity Theory.
almost as a story from science fiction, the cosmologists began to
envision a universe based on "what ifs." Long after the demise of the
solar system, it will be up to future physicists that arise from
planets in other solar systems to fathom and unravel the mysteries of
the system's origins from their isolated universes dominated by dark
But the irony of the presence of that abundant dark
energy, the researchers report, is that future physicists will have no
way to measure its presence because of a void in the gravitational
dynamics of moving galaxies.
"We live in a special time in the
evolution of the universe," stated the researchers, somewhat
humorously: "The only time at which we can observationally verify that
we live in a very special time in the evolution of the universe."
researchers describe that modern cosmology is built on Einstein's
theory of general relativity, which requires an expanding or collapsing
universe for a uniform density of matter. However, an isolated region
can exist inside of an otherwise seemingly static universe
next discuss implications for the detection of the cosmic microwave
background that provide evidence of the baby pictures of an early
That radiation will 'red shift" to longer and longer
frequencies, eventually becoming undetectable within our galaxy. Krauss
said, "We literally will have no way to detect this radiation."
researchers followed up that discussion with one tracking early
elements like helium and deuterium produced in the Big Bang. They
predict systems that allow us to detect primordial deuterium will be
dispersed throughout the universe to become undetectable, while helium
in concentrations of approximately 25 percent at the Big Bang will
become indiscernible as stars will produce far more helium in the
course of their lives to cloud the origins of the early universe.
"Eventually, the universe will appear static," said Krauss. "All evidence of modern cosmology will have disappeared."
closed with a comment that he suggested is implicit in the paper's
conclusions. "We may feel smug in that we can detect a host of things
future civilizations will not know about, but by the same token, this
suggests we wonder about what important aspects of the universe we
ourselves may be missing. Thus, our results suggest a kind of a 'cosmic
Source : Case Western Reserve University