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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 singular 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

According to the Big Bang theory, the universe began about 12-14 billion years ago. Right after the Big Bang, the universe was really hot! But, as the universe has expanded, the particles within the universe...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 at 15:46:46 EDT, June 30, 2001. So...more

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

In the 1960's, the United States launched a series of satellites to look for very high energy photons, called Gamma Rays, that are produced whenever a nuclear bomb explodes. These satellites soon detected...more

Galaxies

The introduction of telescopes to the study of astronomy opened up the universe, but it took some time for astronomers to realize how vast the universe could be. Telescopes revealed that our night sky...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 pinwheels turning slowly as though in some intergalactic breeze. They are rotating disks of gas, dust and stars. Through a telescope or binoculars, the bright nucleus...more

White Dwarfs

White Dwarfs are the remnants of stars that were massive enough to stay alive using nuclear fusion in their cores, but not massive enough to blow apart in a Type II supernova. When stars like our own sun...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