Many books have described how the universe became the way it is today. But what about the future of the universe? How long might the universe as we recognize it survive? The Future of the Universe takes the reader on a journey through space and time, beginning with a long look at the Earth and solar system, voyaging to the outermost galaxies, and finishing with speculations about the life and fate of the entire universe.
Many excellent books have been written about the past history of the universe and of the various objectsgalaxies, stars, planets to be found in it. All the exciting events from the original Big Bang to the appearance of human beings have been carefully recorded. Much less has been written about what comes next. What will happen to all these galaxies, stars, and planets in the future? And what will happen to us, and to any other intelligent life in the u- verse? It is obviously more dif?cult to examine the future than the past, but there are ways of doing it. Not everything in the universe is the same age; so a study of the older objects gives us some idea of what will happen to the younger objects. Some things vary in a fairly regular way, so you can guess what will happen next. For example, the number of spots visible on the Sun's surface increases and then decreases again every eleven years on average. These ups and downs can be expected to continue for a considerable time in the future. Finally, theoretical explanations of how things work at present often give some hint of how they will develop in the future. One rule-of-thumb in astronomythough there are plenty of exceptionsis that the further away objects are, the less we know about them. This means that it is often more dif?cult to forecast the future for distant objects than for ones nearby.
Uniquely, begins with the present-day universe and speculates about its long-term future
Takes an in-depth look at the future of the Earth and solar system
Pitched at "amateur astronomer" level, but assumes no scientific/mathematical background
Jack Meadows was formerly Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Leicester University, UK. He is now Emeritus Professor of Information Science at Loughborough University, UK.
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A lot has been written about the history of the universe, from the Big Bang through the evolution of galaxies and stars, to the eventual appearance of life and intelligence.
Much less has been written about what comes next.
What will happen to the planets, stars, and galaxies in the distant future as the universe matures and ages? And closer to home, what will happen to mankind, and to any other intelligent life that may exist on other worlds?
Informed scientific speculation about these biggest of all questions is difficult but by no means impossible, and The Future of the Universe brings together current thinking on the subject. Beginning with a searching look at how our own Sun will probably evolve and the effect this will have on the planets of the solar system, Jack Meadows then turns his spotlight on the stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. Finally he considers the various possible fates of the universe itself, and looks at our present understanding of this ultimate enigma.
Introduction: To Begin With.- The Heat of the Sun.- The Mobile Earth.- The Earth's Oceans and Atmosphere.- Magnetic Earth and Magnetic Sun.- Impact.- The Solar System.- Our Galaxy.- Galaxies.- The Universe.