A new report reveals that pretty soon galaxies will be unable to produce new stars. The reason according to the study is that the universe is running out of gas; hydrogen to be specific. When that gas is gone galaxies will lose one of the necessary building blocks for stars. The study was headed by astrophysicist Robert Braun and co-authored by Francois Combes.
The men were able to compare the levels of molecular hydrogen gas that gathers to form clouds in galaxies which becomes a star producing factory of sorts. With assistance from the Paris Observatory, the CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, along with the University of Western Australia, Braun measured the amount of the hydrogen in nearby galaxies. He then looked to galaxies further off to get an idea of the amount of hydrogen that existed billions of years ago. This is possible because the further away a celestial body is the younger it is. Looking at galaxies hundreds and hundreds of light years away is like taking a glimpse through time at the early stages of the universe.
The results of the measurements reveal that molecular hydrogen gas is on the decline. “If every galaxy today continues forming stars at the current rate, in one to two billion years it will be all over.” Dr. Braun says. While that is some time off scientists are still taking interest in hopes of getting a better understanding of the inner workings of the universe.
According to Andrew Hopkins of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, he believes that the hydrogen is not gone but that Dr. Braun’s team failed to look in other places for the missing gas. The culprit as Dr. Braun sees it is dark energy which is thought to be the force expanding the universe. The new study is exciting for scientist and astronomers alike and will certainly increase the understanding of the universe.