The last light before eternal darkness – white dwarfs


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/05/the-last-light-before-eternal.html


#2

I do love me some Kurzgesagt!

The heat death of the universe fascinates me. Though it is sooooo far off into the future the thinking about it is rather moot. Still, if we are still around some how, space stations and/or asteroids in close enough orbit around a white dwarf could keep us alive for billions of years. Though really, I would think given enough time, we will have largely shed organic bodies, and become one with machines. Or at least cyborgs. We might be happy to live in a cold vacuum. We could even enjoy a Matrix like world much brighter than reality.

Kurzgesagt also taught me that eventually, because of the rate of expansion of the universe, we won’t even be able to SEE the distant galaxies we see now. They will be too far away and us traveling to fast for the light to ever reach us.


#3

I think, if a cold dead universe is the ultimate fate, then our longest term plan and purpose should be figuring out how to reverse the expansion into a big crunch so we could blow it all up and start again. A Sternedämmerung, if you will.

Good word, actually. And no Google hits - I call it! By the universal rule of dibs, the word is now mine. Bwahaha.


#4

White dwarf
In a golden cage
On a winter’s day
In deep space
White dwarf
In a golden cage
Alone


#5

True. But astrophysicists study the boundary conditions of our universe in part because it has and likely will again lead to insights about the laws of nature that could further our basic understanding of science, the full civilizational value of which has historically been unforeseen.


#6

I meant for like average people :wink: Of course the pros should keep trying to glean the secrets of the universe.


#7

No, but it appears that they are postulating its existence.


#8

in Tau Zero (written while it was believed there would be a big crunch) they fly their ship almost right into the collapsing universe in hopes of finding a place to land in the newly reborn universe. Similar idea.


#9


#10

That word appears to back to around late 2009.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Sternedämmerung&rlz=1C1AOHY_enUS708US708&source=lnt&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A1%2F1%2F2007%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F28%2F2009&tbm=


#11

Yeah, I found those refs, but those are references to two separate words (stars and twilight), not one word (which would be Twilight of the Stars or the like). So my call for dibs stands. :slight_smile:


#12

Some people are so devoted to the idea this life isn’t real.


#13

I see your point. Would it count if the two words were joined by a hyphen?

(I’m wondering now if a vote-thread should be started for proposed new words.)


#14

Here’s an interesting complication. M-class stars can continue to shine for ten billion to one trillion years. If there were a Big Crunch, some of them, maybe most would still be shining, and the Worm People of Zaxxar Five will be there to watch the show. If on the other hand, we’re headed for heat death, it will take much longer than you thought.


#15

That people believe homo sapiens will last anywhere that long is amusing.


#16

Another possibility is that Dark Energy will overtake all of the other fundamental forces and destroy the Universe in a “Big Rip.” This might happen as soon as 22B years from now, so it’s pretty much a race against GRRM finishing Song of Ice & Fire.


#17

See also James Blish Cities in Flight trilogy, wherein the universe starts to die rather earlier than expected and the Mayor of New York races to the center to ‘become’ the next universe. Put like that it sounds somewhat silly, but …


#18

INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER


#19

German is a compound language. You can make “new” words by combining existing words to your heart’s desire…
Sternendämmerungsrisikoabschätzungsbeauftragter.


#20

“22 million years??”
“No no, billion, with a B”
“Whew!”