Peak Starlight

Nov 25 2012 @ 2:51pm

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According to a new study, "the universe is apparently well past its prime in terms of making stars." Caleb A. Scharf summarizes:

First, 95% of all the stars we see around us today were formed during the past 11 billion years, and about half of these were formed between roughly 11 and 8 billion years ago in a flurry of activity. But the real shocker is that the rate at which new stars are being produced in galaxies today is barely 3% of the rate back 11 billion years ago, and declining. This indicates that unless our universe finds a second wind (which is unlikely) it will only ever manage to produce about 5% more stars than exist at this very moment.

This is, quite literally, the beginning of the end.

("A globular cluster of stars" from NASA's APOD)