A “galactic lens” has revealed that the Universe will probably expand forever.
Astronomers used the way that light from distant stars was distorted by a huge galactic cluster known as Abell 1689 to work out the amount of dark energy in the cosmos.
Dark energy is a mysterious force that speeds up the expansion of the Universe.
Understanding the distribution of this force revealed that the likely fate of the Universe was to keep on expanding.
It will eventually become a cold, dead wasteland, researchers say.
The study, conducted by an international team led by Professor Eric Jullo of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, is published in the journal Science.
Dark energy makes up three-quarters of our Universe but is totally invisible. We only know it exists because of its effect on the expansion of the Universe.
To work out how dark energy is spread through space, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the way that light from distant stars was distorted around Abell 1689, a nearby cluster of galaxies.
Abell 1689, found in the constellation of Virgo, is one of the biggest galactic clusters known to science.
Light bends around massive galaxy clusters, allowing distant objects to be seen
Because of its huge mass, the cluster acts as a cosmic magnifying glass, causing light to bend around it………..