How Will The Universe End? (With A Bang or A Whimper?)

The fate of the cosmos is not fiery cataclysm, say the latest telescopic observations, but a gradual descent into eternal, frigid darkness

We Earthlings are newcomers to cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole, and there is no cosmological question about which we have more to learn than the riddle of where it's all ultimately headed. But we have glimpsed at least a few clues to cosmic destiny, some of them hopeful and others bleak.

The good news is that we're not going to be evicted. The universe is likely to remain hospitable to life for at least an additional 100 billion years. That's 20 times as long as the earth has existed, and 5 million times as long as...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!