15 billion years ago, there was emptiness without form; emptiness without time. Then from the void an unimaginable explosion of energy was released into emptiness filling it with blindly bright light. The cosmic background radiation remains as a reminder of the intensity of the explosion. What force could do this defies the imagination.

The Big Bang is a denomination of the cosmological theory based on the general theory of relativity assumes that 13.798 (with an uncertainty of 0.037) billion years ago the universe began from a very hot point (exceeding 10 28 °K), with an infinite density, called a singularity. The strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force and electromagnetic force are believed to be unified above 10 28 °K.

small magellanic cloud

Consider gravity which seems to apply universally. Even light is affected as witnessed by the gravitational lens effect with some astronomical objects discovered recently. Now given the consolidated mass of everything in the universe being compressed into a object smaller than a grain of sand, what force could overwhelm the staggering force of gravity?

Why unequal amounts of matter and antimatter were not created is a puzzle nobody can yet answer. If matter and antimatter are created and destroyed together, it seems the universe should contain nothing but leftover energy. Nevertheless, a tiny portion of matter – about one particle per billion – managed to survive. Perhaps this is a remnant of the force that overwhelmed gravity.

Relativity is a peculiar concept given the speed of light is a constant for all observers. Time dilation exists and close to the speed of light, it has a dramatic effect. The cosmic microwave background has been expanding at the speed of light for 13.798 billion years. It has cooled to 2.75 °K at present which corresponds to 160.23 GHz or a photon energy of 6.626 E10−4 eV.

E=Mc2 says a stupendous amount of energy is represented by matter. The 1057 cubic meters of mostly hydrogen with small amounts of heavy hydrogen, helium and even smaller amounts of lithium represent a huge amount of material.

A very massive star that reaches the end of its life will explode in a cataclysmic type II supernova, creating either a black hole or neutron star as a stellar corpse. Over the final few seconds of its life, it will release some approximately 1044 J of energy, with hypernovae (or superluminous supernovae) reaching up to 100 times that amount. This is the mechanism that seeded galaxies for smaller longer lived stars. It’s evident that the first black holes from the initial star formation went on to see galaxies over time. The material ejected with supernova quickly allowed for rapid solar birth.

A black hole is simply a neutron star which exceeds a certain mass where the escape velocity exceeds the speed of light. The limit of the escape velocity is called the event horizon. The mass of the neutron star varies depending on its rotational speed which has an impact on the escape velocity. The solar mass is likely 20-25 suns with a neutron star > 2.25 suns for the event horizon to exceed the speed of light.

Probably the most intense release of energy comes from 2 neutron stars merging where as much as 40% of the mass is released as photons but even this pales with most intense gamma ray bursts detected. Most likely closely coupled orbiting black holes in a galactic core can generate enough energy.

Gravity is a force that seems to be universal. So given 1057 cubic meters, the mass would be stupendous and it should collapse into a enormous and extreme black hole. Even with more energy the mass should be overwhelmed by gravity. What force overwhelms gravity? Gravity is 1040 times weaker than the electromagnetic force that holds atoms together. With enough atoms gravity does become dominant.

A cubic light year contains about 1048 cubic meters. After some 13.8 billion years, the sphere is some 27 billion light years in diameter. All of the matter in the universe would fit into about 1 billion cubic light years, or a cube that’s approximately 1,000 light years on each side.

The cosmic red shift suggests that the universe is continuing to expand rapidly. This means that everything moved further and further apart. The relatively density of a cubic light year continues to fall. In very long time galaxies will be so far apart from one another they will be hard to see. Several extreme red shift objects seem to be active galaxies show that early on that black holes emerged very early in the history of the universe. What force can push the universe apart is hard to imagine.

Some larger galactic clusters are more tightly bound which suggests they may slowly disengage long after other galaxies have become very distant. Some dense clusters may collide and merge but the larger black holes are doomed regardless. There is not an infinite number of stars in any galaxy. The is not an infinite number of galaxies to merge. Eventually the hydrogen is going to be exhausted. Then new star formation will stop. Galaxies will become dark and cold.

The galaxy we are in has some 200 billion stars. There are some 200 billion galaxies in the visible universe. Given that planets exist around almost every star it suggests that there may well be a diversity of life. The distances are so vast however that discovery of life is extremely unlikely. Galaxies invariably have a black hole in the core which holds the remaining stars in orbit.

Does life exist out there, we exist so others will also exist. Most will be bacterial as eukaryotes took over 3 billion years to emerge. Some planets will exist with more complex life but they will be scarce compared to bacterial worlds.

Black holes simply represent the condensing of the universe back to initial conditions. The event that overwhelmed the force of gravity was so much more powerful it make gravity irrelevant. The expansion of the universe is destined to go on perpetually. So darkness and emptiness will return in maybe 1015 years down the road. Hawking showed the even a black hole evaporates slowly. In 10100 years black holes will be gone and the temperature of the universe will be very close to absolute zero.