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Study: the Universe Has Almost Stopped Making New Stars 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the getting-lazy dept.
SternisheFan sends this quote from Wired: "An international team of astronomers used three telescopes — the UK Infrared Telescope and the Subaru Telescope, both in Hawaii, and Chile's Very Large Telescope — to study trends in star formation, from the earliest days of the universe. Extrapolating their findings has revealed that half of all the stars that have ever existed were created between 9 and 11 billion years ago, with the other half created in the years since. That means the rate at which new stars are born has dropped off massively, to the extent that (if this trend continues) 95 percent of all the stars that this universe will ever see have already been born. Several studies have looked at specific time 'epochs', but the different methods used by each study has restricted the ability to compare their findings and discern a fuller model of how stars have evolved over the course of the entire universe's lifespan."
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Study: the Universe Has Almost Stopped Making New Stars

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  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:11PM (#41912535) Homepage Journal

    They stopped making new movies, about 2002.

    Now it's only remakes, re-boots, TV re-imaginings, and films based on children's toys.

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:24PM (#41912675)

    I blame Universal cooling.

  • Re:Fermis paradox (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:48PM (#41912953)

    This doesn't address the question of where the stars came from in the first place. We don't have even a tiny tiny slice of the big picture yet, so any announcements about the impending doom of the universe are premature to put it mildly, even on astronomical scales.

  • Fermi's Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oGMo (379) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:05PM (#41913129)

    The Fermi Paradox [wikipedia.org] assumes quite a few things which may not be true, such as interstellar travel being practical or desirable, life and intelligence being similar to our own, the fact we could actually spot it with our current techology (or that it would desire to be seen), and that artifacts of past civilizations would actually last for the millions of years between said civilization and our own.

    We are barely able to start seeing extrasolar planets. The idea that "if it's out there, we would have seen it" seems a bit silly for any number of reasons. For instance, noticing, here on earth, the tiny blip in time a civilization that might use radio waves seems unlikely. People who subscribe to the technological singularity [wikipedia.org] might assume that any civilization with high enough technology would be incomprehensible to us; think of us trying to tune into a radio show (or look for smoke signals) when they're using the internet. I think the article above lists a few more.

    Star Trek may well not be possible as you say; that doesn't mean something better isn't.

  • by billstewart (78916) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:10PM (#41913177) Journal

    The only ways to get off this rock are to understand ecologies well enough to be able to build a sustainable large-scale ecology with enough complexity to maintain human life, or to understand human minds well enough to upload ourselves into robots. To do the former, humans need to be Not Dead Yet, which means we have to be able to understand ecologies well enough not to poison ourselves before we've got a bunch of starships. So far, we haven't been able to build little model terrariums like Biosphere 2 without cheating, and we won't be able to build a colony on Mars (where you've got some resources to cheat with), much less outer space, until we can do one on Earth.

    So if you want to get off the planet, you've got to fix the planet first. Or, like, do the robot upload dance, and you're not getting me inside one of those things any time soon.

  • by Slutticus (1237534) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:11PM (#41913203)
    for some reason this makes me incredibly sad.
  • by lgw (121541) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:56PM (#41913693) Journal

    It's not really cooling, it's just spreading the same amount of energy over an increasingly large area. The sum total is still the same.

    There's a word for "spreading the same amount of energy over an increasingly large area": cooling. That's the normal way that cooling happens after all.

  • Re:Fermi's Fallacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @08:32PM (#41914585) Homepage Journal

    The idea that "if it's out there, we would have seen it" seems a bit silly for any number of reasons.

    Yes, that idea is silly. The actual Fermi idea that "if there was life out there it would have colonized the entire galaxy already, and we wouldn't be here asking if there is life out there" holds a lot more of water.

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

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