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A Closed Universe
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The Big Crunch

If there is enough matter in the Universe eventually gravitational forces will stop its expansion. When this happens gravity will cause the universe to reverse its direction and begin to collapse under its own weight. This phase of the Universe's life is known as the Big Crunch.

Eventually all of the matter in the Universe will collapse into a super dense state and possibly even collapse into an unimaginably massive black hole. Some theorize that the Universe could collapse into the same state that it began as and then blow up in another Big Bang. In this way the Universe would last forever but would continually go through these phases of expansion and contraction, Big Bang and Big Crunch and so on...

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The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, available in our online store, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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Capturing the Afterglow of the Big Bang

There is a radiation that fills the universe, called Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB). CMB radiation is the heat left over from the time after the Big Bang, when the universe was really hot!...more

Capturing the Afterglow of the Big Bang (Updated!)

Some of the best news of the week is that the Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) was launched successfully last Saturday! Liftoff on its Delta II rocket occurred on time on June 30, 2001. The MAP teams says...more

Gamma Ray Bursts - The Most Powerful Objects in the Universe?

In the 1960's, the United States launched some satellites to look for very high energy light, called Gamma Rays. Gamma Rays are produced whenever a nuclear bomb explodes. The satellites found many bursts...more

Galaxies

During the early 1900's, which is not very long ago, astronomers were unaware that there were other galaxies outside our own Milky Way Galaxy. When they saw a small fuzzy patch in the sky through their...more

Neutron Stars

Neutron Stars are the end point of a massive star's life. When a really massive star runs out of nuclear fuel in its core the core begins to collapse under gravity. When the core collapses the entire star...more

Spiral Galaxies

Spiral galaxies may remind you of a pinwheel. They are rotating disks of mostly hydrogen gas, dust and stars. Through a telescope or binoculars, the bright nucleus of the galaxy may be visible but the...more

White Dwarfs

When stars like our own sun die they will become white dwarfs. As a star like our sun is running out of fuel in its core it begins to bloat into a red giant. This will happen to our sun in 5 Billion years....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF