How Will The Universe End?

There are many theories regarding how the universe will die. The most widely accepted of these theories is called “Heat Death.” Heat Death is the result of the death of stars; stars like our sun are slowly using up the fuel stored inside of them and eventually this fuel will run out. When this happens, the star stops producing heat and light, resulting in a frozen and dark Earth. We will most likely be dead long before this happens.

The sun is increasing in brightness by about 10% every billion years. This will result in the Earth eventually becoming too hot for anything to live. The oceans will boil, and water will no longer exist in liquid form. We could theoretically survive this by moving to a planet farther from the sun, but that would only last until the sun becomes a Red Giant. A Red Giant is what the sun is expected to become in 5 billion years when it runs out of hydrogen to fuse into helium. When this happens, our sun will slowly start fusing the helium instead of hydrogen. This turns the sun into a Red Giant, emitting a very low amount of light, and a relatively low amount of heat. The Red Giant would expand to about the orbit of Mars, destroying Earth.

If humans manage to somehow survive this, we would need to be able to survive until the Red Giant becomes a White Dwarf or Neutron Star. These are both very small and dense stars that emit light and heat. These stars will last for such an unfathomable amount of time that if humans manage to find a place to live around one of these stars, they will be able to keep living for a very long time, until the White Dwarf or Neutron Star dies. When this happens, there is no hope. The solar system has ended, there is no source of heat or life, and everything is either a cloud of gas and bare elements, a black hole, or a dead star. Life would be impossible, and everything would be dead.

 

by Konrad Smith ’23

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