(Submitted January 09, 1998)
I was confronted today at school with a wild possibility:
is it true that some astrophysicists have concluded that there is not
enough mass in space for a Big Crunch? I know it is possible for this to
happen, I'm just curious as to how space can always be expanding, but can
It may seem like a wild possibility, but current observations say that
there is NOT enough matter in the universe to reverse the expansion
and head us towards a "Big Crunch". There certainly isn't enough
"visible" matter (stars and gas and stuff), but there is evidence
that there is matter that we can't see, so called "Dark Matter".
more information on this. Current measurements give a value for "Omega"
(the density of the universe divided by the density required to halt
the expansion) of 10 - 40% (including dark matter). Many theorists
still prefer an Omega of one, but if the matter is out there, we haven't
seen it yet.
Thanks for your question.
for Ask an Astrophysicist