Aug 11, 2015 10:56 AM EDT
Universe's Energy Output On a Slow Decline, Lack of New Stars Spells a Slow Death
A new astronomical study revealed the universe to be slowing losing its energy output due stars dying out faster than new ones are created.
According to BBC News, the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey detailed their findings at the International Astronomical Union's annual meeting in Honolulu. Looking at 200,000 galaxies with nearly two-dozen different wavelengths, the researchers noticed the universe's energy output is half what is was two billion years ago.
"We used as many space- and ground-based telescopes as we could get our hands on to measure the energy output of over 200,000 galaxies across as broad a wavelength range as possible," Simon Driver, GAMA's principal investigator at the University of Western Australia, said in a statement, according to Space.com. "While most of the energy sloshing around in the universe arose in the aftermath of the Big Bang, additional energy is constantly being generated by stars as they fuse elements like hydrogen and helium together.
"This new energy is either absorbed by dust as it travels through the host galaxy, or escapes into intergalactic space and travels until it hits something, such as another star, a planet, or, very occasionally, a telescope mirror."
Stephen Wilkins, a GAMA team member at the University of Sussex, told BBC News the team is making their findings readily available for any astronomer to examine. He said GAMA is a special telescope that combines 21 wavelengths to offer the most complete view of the cosmos.
"We know that star formation peaked a few billion years ago and has been declining since. This is just a new way of measuring that decline," Wilkins said. "It's a new spin, and it completely agrees with the previous results - but it's tightened the error bars as well.
"The rate at which stars are forming is slowing down so much that we are now starting to see the total energy output of all the stars decreasing."
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