Successes and mistakes of the video that shows the end of the universe

Frame of 'A journey towards the end of time'

Two astrophysicists analyze a spectacular simulation of the next trillion years

How will the future be? It is a question that many have asked themselves, but perhaps only a few have wanted to imagine the most distant future. Not tomorrow, but the journey that will take the universe to its final cold. The director and composer John Boswell, known for his videos on YouTube as Melodysheep, allows you to look into that future, the journey of the cosmos through trillions of trillions of trillions of years, until the end of everything, the moment in which “time It makes no sense “because, as the video says,” nothing happens and nothing will happen, never again “.

Actually, that phrase is said by physicist Brian Cox, because that is one of the virtues of Melodysheep’s video, which has already reached 15 million views. In addition to the visual poetry of its black holes dancing, of its imploding stars and the spectacular atmosphere of the soundtrack, the video is guided by the voices of the best specialists and disseminators, collected by Boswell from other programs and documentaries, to be The narrators of his trip. Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough, Janna Levin and Neil deGrasse Tyson are just some of the guides on this sidereal journey that begins by assisting the formation of a ring around Mars (like Saturn has now) or our Sun is seen going out.

In its 30-minute duration, much information about the future of the universe is disseminated, covering almost all fields of astrophysics, so while enjoying the video, you can assault a question: is everything we see scientifically correct? There are cosmological phenomena that are very difficult to represent visually, but is it at least true to science that tells us? Two young astrophysicists, Lucía González Cuesta, of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC), and Pablo Galán de Anta, a researcher at Armagh Observatory & Planetariu

m (Northern Ireland), point out the successes and errors of this spectacular dissemination exercise.

The first billions of years, in which it shows how some of the best-known stars will become supernovae, or how the solar system will change, is expressed quite correctly and coherently with what we know today, clarify these scientists

As the timer is accelerating exponentially in the video, complexity is also increasing, moving from one field to another in astrophysics, in which some of the ideas most accepted today by the scientific community, such as the accelerated expansion of the universe. So, in general, what is explained is correct and we can be calm (as it is well said in the video, we do not understand the nature or origin of dark energy, for example, which represents approximately 70% of the energy of the universe). But there are episodes in which the artist ventures with statements that are pure speculation, as referred to the “baby universes.”

The scientists consulted agree that there are expressions that could clarify or discuss being purists, but in general they think that the video is well done and that it sends a message “very powerful about the humble role of humanity in the history of the universe.” They refer to phrases such as “the universe we know will die on ice”, which are not entirely rigorous and that need to be understood more as poetic licenses, in this case, within the “dichotomy between ice and fire”. They also point to statements such as “perhaps there are islands of intelligence in time,” or “there are ways to escape from our universe,” which could have a place in science fiction, but at present we don’t know if they could be real or not.

Boswell himself, who has worked for National Geographic or Disney, admits that “there is a very healthy dose of artistic license in this piece.” And he adds: “My goal is more a piece of reflection, something that makes you project yourself emotionally on the future, rather than a strictly accurate representation.” In the comments of his video, the artist explains that he first drew up the timeline, then pointed out the inflection points in the story and began working on the images, narration and music around those points.

But there are also inaccuracies, such as Galán de Anta points out in the phrase: “When two black holes merge, they send powerful waves of gravity that resonate throughout the universe.” “Given that the universe is in accelerated expansion, if you draw a sphere around a emitter (for example, the point from which gravitational waves are emitted), it will only be causally connected up to a distance at which the expansion of the universe moves away with a speed lower than that of light, “says the scientist. And he adds: “If the border on which another observer is (another black hole, for example) moves away faster than light, the emitted gravitational waves will never reach that black hole. Rather, the gravitational waves would sound within islands in the universe. ”

For González, the phrase “universes that have no intelligent life are infertile” could lead to confusion. “A universe in which there would be life of any of these types would be a fertile universe. But, if we take into account in what context this statement is made in the video, in the part where we talk about the creation of baby universes, it is logical to think that a fertile universe would be one in which there was a civilization intelligent enough or advanced enough to be able to create a new universe to escape from and, in that case, the phrase would make sense, “says the IAC researcher.

For her, the final part of the video is especially inspiring, in which it is said that we cannot escape from the universe and Cox says: “For the first time in her life, the universe will be permanent, immutable. Entropy finally stops growing, since the cosmos cannot get messy anymore. Nothing happens and nothing will ever happen again. “” I think it is still pretty that in the end the universe finds calm and peace, since it could be what many of us aspire to achieve one day, “says González.

Finally, Galán de Anta believes that for many people the concepts of “infinity”, “vastness” or “eternity” can be devastating. And he points out: “It is true that we are incapable of conceiving something like that, but if we think about it carefully, our atoms, the matter that makes us up, has existed since the beginning of the universe in the Great Singularity and, unless they fall into a black hole, they will continue traveling for that absolute eternity, they will continue bringing a little life to the eternal peace of that immutable, cold and dark universe, because in some way, we will also have become eternal with him. ”


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9 months ago

The video said “all matter will be destroyed”, is that possible or have I missed some physics since college?