Beijing: Astronomers should feel lucky they have a space full of stars, galaxies and other objects to study, says Nobel laureate Brian P. Schmidt who believes that the universe would eventually fade away.
Speaking during 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) being held here between Aug 20 and 31, Schmidt said: “Human beings will look to an empty universe in 100 billion years, as all the galaxies will fade away except the Milky Way we live in.”
Schmidt shared the 2011 Nobel prize in physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, Xinhua reported.
Before their discoveries, it was commonly thought that the expansion of the universe was slowing down.
By monitoring the brightness and measuring the redshift of the supernovae (a stellar explosion), Schmidt and his partners discovered that billion-year old exploding stars and their galaxies are accelerating away from their reference frame.
Their discoveries led to research on dark energy, a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the universe.
Eagerly searching for life signals in the universe, human beings — if still existing — will feel lonelier in a dark universe in 100 billion years.
“Our Milky Way will still be here and merge with some nearby galaxies,” Schmidt said, “but other things we see today will not be able to reach us in the future. Every galaxy beyond the Milky Way will disappear,” he said.
At that time, astronomers will all be unemployed because there will be nothing to work at, he said.