Many physicists now believe the universe will end by tearing itself apart — and now it appears that this could happen sooner than anyone expected. Originally, scientists predicted the Big Rip would happen in 20 to 22 billion years — but now it sounds as though we may not have that much time left.HT: Hit&Run
And the end of the universe could be much stranger than the graceful "heat death" we've all been looking forward to.
The discovery of a gravitationally repulsive force called dark energy, back in the 1990s, provided cosmologists with a neat and tidy explanation of why galaxies are moving away from each other at an accelerating rate. A surprising implication of this theory, however, was the realization that this same force could eventually cause the Universe to rip apart into nothingness. And the more we learn about this mysterious force, the sooner it looks like this will happen....MORE