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all the time in the world

Time, the Universe and the Whole Darn Thing!
Part Two: The Fate of the Universe

By Allan Eastman

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The View From The Upstairs Window

Modern Radio Telescope

With the Universe containing about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, is it any wonder we're searching for intelligent life outside of planet Earth?


The Universe was born from a singularity expanding into the Big Bang about 13.7 Billion years ago. And if the Human species is barely out of its infancy, the Universe itself is even more so. It won’t be coming to an end any time soon. One should be happy to know that according to the best judgements available to us now, the Universe still has 99.9% of its life to live.

Across this awesome perspective of Time, there are spectacular changes and transformations to come.

Enormous clouds of gas were spread throughout the Universe by the Big Bang. This gas is the incubator for the Universe we see now. It coalesced to form the early stars and as some of them went Super Nova, Black Holes were left behind that became the gravitational attraction around which Galaxies collected. Star and Galaxies are the main features of the Universe we can observe these days but they won’t be for “long.”


Each Galaxy contains an average of 100 Billion stars and the best estimate we have is that the Universe itself contains something like 100 Billion Galaxies. Here’s one example of a ridiculously large number I promised not to burden you with. The Universe contains therefore about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Stars. How do you feel about the idea that Earth is the only place with intelligent life now?

Our own Galaxy is called - endearingly quaintly - the Milky Way Galaxy, after the glowing river of stars that flows across the heart of the night time sky which so impressed the Ancients. All of the Stars that we can see from Earth are in our own Galaxy and are in fact, quite close by. The Milky Way is a classic Barred Spiral Galaxy, its wispy arms a result of its rotation around its central Black Hole. There are about 200 Billion Stars in the Milky Way and our Star and its solar system are about halfway out from the galactic center.

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