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Slow Death of the Universe

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An international team of astronomers studying 200,000 galaxies has discovered that the energy generated within a large portion of space is only half what it was 2 billion years ago – and declining.

Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Western Australia used seven of the world’s most powerful telescopes to observe galaxies at 21 different wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the far infrared. Initial observations were conducted using the Anglo-Australian Telescope, and supporting observations were made by two orbiting space telescopes operated by NASA and another belonging to the European Space Agency. The research is part of the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, the largest multi-wavelength survey ever put together.

“We used as many space and ground-based telescopes we could get our hands on to measure the energy output of over 200,000 galaxies across as broad a wavelength range as possible,” said Prof Simon Driver of ICRAR, who presented the findings at the International Astronomical Union’s General Assembly in Honolulu.

All energy in the universe was created in the Big Bang, with some portion locked up as mass. Stars shine by converting this mass into energy as described by Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2.

“While most of the energy was created in the aftermath of the Big Bang, additional...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.