Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Connect with us

Tech

Exploding Black Dwarfs Could Be the ‘Last Interesting Thing to Happen in the Universe’

Published

on

“This is the way the world ends,” said T. S. Elliot in his famous poem, “Not with a bang but a whimper.” These days, scientists consider the heat-death of the universe to be the whimper, but a new theoretical analysis predicts that the cosmos will breathe its final gasp in the form of exploding black dwarfs.

Advertisement

Trillions upon trillions of years from now, long after the last stars have fizzled out, the heaviest black dwarfs will start to go supernova, according to new research published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Black dwarfs are the frozen remnants of white dwarfs, which themselves are the remnants of low-mass stars. The sole author of the study, astrophysicist Matt Caplan from Illinois State University, says these explosions will be “the last interesting thing to happen in the universe,” as he explained in an ISU press release.

The universe could end in any number of ways, but the current best guess is that it’ll continue to expand long after everything inside it has been torn to shreds, including galaxies, solar systems, stars, and even atoms. By the time black dwarfs are set to pop, the universe will be “cold and lifeless,” Caplan wrote in an email to me.

Advertisement

“The expansion of the universe will have long since separated all remaining objects by distances so enormous that no light will ever be able to reach from one to another,” he said. “Every object will find itself in a universe completely devoid of anything else in every direction. It will be cold and near absolute zero.”

When extant stars go supernova, it’s on account of excess iron in their cores—the result of internal nuclear reactions. The same cannot be said for smaller stars, which eventually burn out and shrink into white dwarfs. According to theory, white dwarfs will eventually lose their luster and freeze in the far future, transitioning into black dwarfs.

“Without a heat source, they simply cool off for all eternity, until they turn ‘black’ and no longer shine,” said Caplan. “It’s a bit like taking a hot skillet off the oven—all it can do is cool.”

These hypothetical objects would be roughly the size of Earth but with masses approaching that of our Sun. Importantly, nuclear reactions will still occur inside these dense, frozen worlds, but at appreciably slower rates than normal. And as the new study predicts, these reactions will result in a steady buildup of iron, though at cosmologically vast timescales. With this in mind, Caplan crunched the numbers to estimate how long it will take for these black dwarfs to produce enough iron to trigger a supernova explosion.

Advertisement

The answer, at 101,100 years, is “hilariously long,” said Caplan. The age of the universe itself is closer to 1010 years, so if you were to try to write out 101,100 it would have 1,100 zeros and “take up most of a paragraph,” he explained. Or as Caplan put it in the ISU release, “it’s like saying the word ‘trillion’ almost a hundred times.”

Importantly, these explosions will only happen among the largest of the black dwarfs, namely those around 1.2 to 1.4 times the mass of the Sun. These supernovae—the last to ever happen in the universe—will eventually stop around 1032,000 years from now, after which time the cosmos will truly be a quiet and uneventful place.

Advertisement

Caplan said his analysis took the effects of an expanding universe into account. However, “if dark energy is different than we currently suspect, then the expansion of the universe could destroy the black dwarfs long before they have a chance to explode,” he said. What’s more, Caplan’s calculations were based on our current understanding of nuclear physics, astrophysics, and cosmology, but to be fair, scientists can’t be certain if the laws of physics and the universal constants will remain the same in the far future. It’s possible, for example, that the universe won’t even exist at this future juncture.

“Some theories of particle physics predict that the proton is fundamentally unstable and will decay away, though this has yet to be observed or confirmed. If that’s the case, then all matter will sort of ‘evaporate’ long before any black dwarfs explode,” said Caplan. “That’s just one example. In a sense, our understanding of the far future is entirely dependent on our understanding of the laws of physics today, and small changes in physics as we know it can have enormous consequences for the final fate of the universe and its contents.”

Advertisement

Though Caplan said these black dwarf supernovae will be the “last interesting thing to happen in the universe,” we asked him if something of consequence or interest might happen after this phase.

Advertisement

“Depends on your definition of interesting,” he said. “If a cold iron ball floating in a universe where it is completely causally separated from all other objects is ‘interesting,’ then I suppose you could find something of interest.”

Okay, fair point. But if there’s any consolation in all of this, it’s that the universe will continue to expand forever, at least according to some theories. It’ll be dead, cold, and lifeless, but at least it’ll still be around.

Advertisement

 

Source : Gizmodo Read More

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

Published

on

Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

Advertisement

Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

Advertisement


Source

Continue Reading

Tech

Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

Published

on

Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

Advertisement

That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

Advertisement

Grab this offer while it’s still around!


Source

Continue Reading

Tech

Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

Published

on

Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

Advertisement

You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

Advertisement


Source

Continue Reading

Trending