Mythology sometimes mingles with reality such as the Sumerian belief in the formation of Earth’s moon, which resulted from large-scale planetary combat via orbital paths. That in itself is another story. This particular article focuses more on the mythology of the Phoenix, a legendary firebird that is reborn from its own ashes after death.
Now what does that have to do with reality? Well researchers using several of their neat little machines made a startling discovery, the possibility that the universe may have collapsed in on itself (as some believe will undoubtedly occur once our universe has expanded ‘too much’) and then expand once again. Odd you say? Even odder that they believe this may have happened a number of times!
When the universe was just forming, it was mostly made up of hot material called plasma, along with a minute amount of materials. This plasma produced an immense amount of microwave radiation (Yes, the same thing that cooks our food in a microwave oven), but as the universe continued to expand the radiation began to fade with the enormous distance it traveled. As the radiation travels it begins a process called redshift, which as the name suggests its ‘light’ appears redder, meaning it is farther outside the range of visible spectrum.
A pattern has seemed to appear at in this redshift, slight variances in temperature of the universes’ supposed microwave radiation. The Big Bang is often hailed as the beginning of everything and of ‘all the universe’, but a pair of scientists view this pattern in a circular fashion. This would mean that the universe expanded to such a point that it collapsed in on itself, but then expanded again and have continued to do so.
The two scientists proposing this theory, Dr. Roger Penrose and Dr. Vahe Gurzadyan, hypothesize that these slight variances of temperature are actually cosmic markers of when the universe caved in upon itself and then exploded again, much like the Phoenix rising from its own ashes.
Hard to grasp? Well, it’s been recently discovered that the universe is not slowing down in its expansion as would be necessary in order for it to collapse in on itself, making Penrose and Gurzadyan’s theory even more of a stretch. Not only is the universe not slowing down, it is increasing in speed! This means, according to NASA scientists, that the universe cannot collapse, but rather will tear itself apart by continuing to expand exponentially.
Who’s right? It’s impossible to say as new information and data is being uncovered every day. Theories are discarded, reversed, picked up again, adjusted and are constantly in flux. We will have to wait and see whether we as a universe collapse or rip apart!