Pointing telescopes towards the heavens is not an arbitrary practice. It’s not something that we do just to see pretty things. Ultimately, by looking at the stars, we can understand the fundamental physics that governs our universe—from the laws the keep the Earth in rotation around the Sun to the forces that govern the evolution of massive galaxy clusters.
In the end, telescopes act as time machines, allowing us to look back at some of the very first celestial objects that were created at the dawn of time, and it is by looking back at these ancient objects that we are able to understand where we come from…and where we are heading.
Due to the accelerating expansion of the universe, the sky that we’re observing today will look radically different from the one that our descendants will see.
Assuming the universe exists in a state similar to how it is now, without some catastrophic event in physics taking place, what will our descendants see when observing distant sources of light? Or rather, what will they not see? How will the universe change?
Asteroid impacts, cosmic collisions, the death throes of hypergiant stars, and mass extinction. In part one of this series, see what the future of the universe has in store for our solar system and how it will impact our Pale Blue Dot.