A trillion years from now, the universe as we know it will no longer exist. And while there are various theories about how it will get there, they all end in the same way: nothing. No people, no planets, no stars. Not even an empty space. For most people, that concept is incredibly difficult to grasp.
It’s all just speculation, of course. But it’s based on the work of astronomers, physicists, and other scientists who constantly update their theories. Using the latest information and cutting-edge technologies, they are able to predict exactly what will happen in outer space-even into the distant future.
Here’s a glimpse at what’s in store for our universe:
One Million Years From Now
In the grand scheme of things, a million years really isn’t very much. For comparison, the universe is estimated to be roughly 13.8 billions years old, and the Earth is just a baby at only 4.5 billion.
That’s not to say that a lot can’t happen in the span of a million years. In fact, our universe (and our planet) are expected to change quite a bit in that time.
According to Australian theoretical physicist Brandon Carter, there’s a 95% chance that humans will die out in the next 10,000 years. If we somehow survive, here’s what we can expect to see:
- Sea levels on Earth will rise three-to-four meters. This will have a devastating effect on coastal regions, wiping many highly-populated cities off the map
- Earth’s axial tilt will reverse, causing summer and winter to occur on opposite sides of Earth’s orbit
- As Earth’s poles migrate, climates across the globe will drastically change
- Earth enters a new glacial period
- Many familiar constellations, like Orion and Ursa Major, will cease to exist
- Wolf-Rayet star WR 104 and red supergiant Betelgeuse are both expected to explode in a supernova, potentially threatening life on Earth
One Million To One Billion Years From Now— Turbulent Times
The next billion years will certainly be the end to life as we know it here on Earth. This is what scientists think might happen:
- Star X Pyxldl will go supernova, bathing Earth with radiation and triggering mass extinctions
- At around 50,000,00 years, the entire galaxy could be colonized–even at sub-light speeds
- All the continents on Earth will likely have fused into a supercontinent
- C3 photosynthesis will no longer be possible and 99% of all species on Earth will die
- The sun’s luminosity will increase by 10%–the Earth’s average surface temperature will rise to 47C and the solar system’s habitable zone will move outward
One Billion Years And Beyond— Total Destruction
At this point, our own solar system will continue to change as the sun progresses towards its inevitable death. But on an even larger scale, the universe itself will be heading toward destruction.
- As Earth’s temperature will continue to rise, and all life will go extinct
- The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will collide, creating one super galaxy
- The sun will reach its maximum radius, progressing from white dwarf, to black dwarf, to eventual extinction
- Mercury, Venus, and possibly Earth will be destroyed during the Sun’s expansion
- The universe will come to its inevitable end
How the universe ends is still open to debate. But the one thing everyone can agree on is that no matter how it happens, it will cease to exist.