A new radical theory by academics suggests that time itself could be slowing down – and may eventually grind to a halt altogether.
The latest mind-bending findings – put forward by researchers working at two Spanish universities – proposes that we have all been fooled into thinking the universe is expanding.
In fact, the scientists say, time itself is slowing down until eventually, in billions of years time, it will cease altogether.
Although the findings might sound worrying, however, it’s probably not worth losing any sleep over, or indeed spending too long mulling over.
According to scientists, the gradual loss of time is not noticeable to the human eye.
And anyway, they say, we’ll all be long gone by the time really does end.
Professor Jose Senovilla told New Scientist magazine: “Everything will be frozen, like a snapshot of one instant, forever.
“Our planet will be long gone by then.”
Scientists have previously measured the light from distant exploding stars to show that the universe is expanding at a rapid rate.
The accepted theory is based on the idea that a kind of anti-gravitational force – known as “dark energy” – must be driving galaxies apart.
However, the scientists working on the latest theory say that we’re looking at thing backwards.
And Prof. Jose Senovilla proposes that the current assumption has got it all wrong – with the appearance of acceleration instead caused by time gradually slowing.
It might sound difficult to believe, but a cosmologist at Cambridge University, says the idea is not without substance: “We believe that time emerged during the Big Bang, and if time can emerge, it can also disappear – that’s just the reverse effect.”