The Five Ages

The current state of the distant future

Cosmology in the middle-stelliferous era

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The discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating came just about the time that my book with Fred Adams, The Five Ages of the Universe, was going to press. So we were significantly out-of-date right from the start. Some of the bigger-picture details in our narrative, such as gravitationally-based computation, almost certainly won’t occur if all of the other galaxies are all accelerated out beyond our causal horizon, but all the events dealing with stars and planets are unaffected by the presence of dark energy.

A recent paper by Avi Loeb (arXiv:1102.0007) shows that astronomers of the extremely distant future will be able to unravel large-scale cosmological insights by making careful velocitiy measurements of the faint escaping halo of red dwarf stars that will surround Milkomeda, the merger remnant of upcoming Milky Way-Andromeda collision.

One might reasonably wonder whether they might have an easier time by simply reading the old issues of Astrophysical Journal. Given, however, my general inability to curate the computer files that I generated in the 1990s, its a good bet that in a trillion years it’ll be considerably easier to just go out and do the observations.


Written by Greg Laughlin

March 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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