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Ask Ethan: If The Universe Ends In A Big Crunch, Will All Of Space Recollapse?

16 Mar 2019, 14:01 UTC
Ask Ethan: If The Universe Ends In A Big Crunch, Will All Of Space Recollapse?
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A ‘Big Bounce’ requires a recollapsing phase (i.e., a Big Crunch) followed by an expanding phase (which looks like a new Big Bang). (E. SIEGEL, DERIVATIVE FROM ÆVAR ARNFJÖRÐ BJARMASON)Our future fate is likely already determined. If we end in a Big Crunch, what does that mean?The ultimate fate of the Universe is one of the biggest existential questions we can ask. Given that our Universe has been around for billions of years since the Big Bang, is filled with stars and galaxies strewn across the vast recesses of space, and appears to be expanding and cooling in all directions, there appear to be fascinating possibilities for what might arise in the future. Perhaps we’ll expand forever; perhaps we’ll cease expanding and recollapse; perhaps the expansion will speed up, tearing us apart. One possible fate is the Big Crunch, and that interests our Patreon supporter Jim Nance, who asks:When you describe the Big Crunch, you talk about a race between gravity and the expansion of space. It’s not clear to me that if gravity wins that race, whether space stops expanding, or simply that the matter in space stops expanding. I’d love to hear your explanation of this.This is a ...

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