Can the Big Gap lead to a new Big Bang?




There are several questions that keep us awake at night, and they concern the ultimate fate of the entire cosmos. The stars light up, they are replaced by new ones, they also burn out, and everything repeats until the Universe runs out of fuel. Galaxies will merge and eject matter, and the space between groups and clusters of galaxies will expand forever. Dark energy leads to the fact that this expansion is not only inexorable, but accelerated. But is this the end? Can this “big gap” (when everything ends up at an infinitely distant distance from each other) lead to a new “big bang”? When the Universe will expand quickly enough to break the atoms and separate the quarks from them … Does the quark-gluon soup form?

At stake is the fate of the universe, anyway.

What awaits the universe at the end?
If you look at a distant random galaxy in the Universe, it’s likely that you will see that its glow is more red than that of stars that glow in our galaxy. Back in the 1920s, scientists discovered that this pattern persisted as a whole: the farther the galaxy is of you, the redder its light is. In the context of the general theory of relativity, it quickly became clear that this was due to the expansion of the very fabric of space over time.

The next step was to quantify how rapidly the Universe is expanding and how this pace has changed over time. The reason for the importance of this, from a theoretical point of view, is that the history of the expansion of the Universe determined what was in it. If you want to know what your Universe is made of, on the largest scale, the dimension of how the Universe has expanded over cosmic time will help you.

If your Universe is filled with matter, you will expect the rate of expansion to fall in proportion to how the substance is diluted. If it is filled with radiation, the rate of expansion will fall even more, because the radiation itself goes through a redshift and loses extra energy. The universe with spatial curvature, cosmic strings or energy inherent in the space itself will still develop differently, depending on the ratios of all energy components.

Based on the full set of measurements that we were able to make, including variable stars, galaxies of different types and properties, and type Ia supernovae, as well as the cosmic microwave background and clustering and correlation of galaxies, we were able to determine exactly what the universe consists of. In particular, it consists of:

68% of dark energy;
27% of dark matter;
4.9% of ordinary matter;
0.09% neutrino;
0.01% radiation.
Plus or minus an amendment of a few tenths of a percent in each case.

Our Universe, in which dark energy dominates, is especially interesting, because this component in the Universe did not exist, not to mention its predominance. And yet, we are here, 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang, living in the Universe, in which dark energy controls the expansion of the Universe.

Dark energy is surrounded by a lot of questions. What is its nature? Where does it come from? Is it permanent or changes over time? There are no final answers, but everything indicates that the dark energy is a cosmological constant. In other words, it behaves like a new form of energy inherent in the space itself. As the universe expands, it creates a new space that contains all the same uniform amount of dark energy.

In any case, this is our best idea at the moment. From a theoretical point of view, there are several known ways to create a cosmological constant, and therefore this explanation — as long as the data agrees with it — will remain preferable. But there is no reason why dark energy cannot be anything more complicated.

It can be something that erodes over time, becoming less and less dense, even a little. It may be something that changes the sign in the distant future and leads to the re-creation of the Universe in the Great Compression. It can also be something that becomes stronger over time, accelerating and expanding the universe over time. It is this option that leads to the Big Break scenario.

When we talk about any component of energy in the Universe, we are talking about its equation of state, which describes how it evolves with time in the Universe. Astrophysicists use the parameter w for this, where w = 0 corresponds to matter, w = 1/3 corresponds to radiation, w = -1 corresponds to the cosmological constant.

Dark energy seems to have w = -1, but this is not accurate. For example, the new work of the collaboration Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam, added new restrictions to the equation of state of dark energy. Although dark energy quite convincingly corresponds to w = -1, there is also an assumption that it can be even more negative. If it really is – if it turns out that w


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