Ask Ethan #53: What is the Big Rip? (Synopsis)

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?” –Haruki Murakami

Of all the ways our Universe can end — recollapsing into a firey singularity, freezing out into a cold, icy void — perhaps the scariest conceivable fate is one where galaxies are ripped apart, stripped of their stars, where planets come undone, molecules and atoms are torn away from one another and, at last, spacetime itself is destroyed.

Image credit: Greg Bacon (STScI) / Hubblesite.org, converted at imgflip, original from http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/videos/hs-2004-12-c-high_quicktime.mov.
Image credit: Greg Bacon (STScI) / Hubblesite.org, converted at imgflip, original from http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/videos/hs-2004-12-c-high_quicktime.mov.

Sounds like something right out of a sci-fi horror novel, doesn’t it? Only, it may not be fiction after all, it’s one possible fate of our Universe: the Big Rip!

 

Image credit: New Scientist, 2003, via http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3461-phantom-menace-may-rip-up-cosmos.html.
Image credit: New Scientist, 2003, via http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3461-phantom-menace-may-rip-up-cosmos.html.

Come learn about the most exciting (and horrifying) possible fate of our Universe, a special to this week’s Ask Ethan!