25 Universe Theories That Will Keep You Up at Night

Posted by , Updated on June 7, 2024

Are we alone in the universe?  What kind of universe do we inhabit in the first place?  Is it a vast collection of stars, moons, and planets that goes on forever?  Or are we all part of a cosmic marble, rattling around in some bored god’s pocket?

We will be boggling your mind so badly that you’ll think you’ve been on a rollercoaster through a black hole with Albert Einstein.

Here are 25  universe theories that will keep you up at night.

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25

Will we be living on Venus someday?

Venus Earth Comparison

I don’t mean we’ll be traveling there. I mean if our planet continues to experience global warming, there’s a possibility we’ll turn into Venus. How does that work? By an increase of some ten degrees C, that’s how.

The good news – well, kind of good news –  is that if we do manage to push our temperature up to maximum levels, it’ll reach ten degrees C, but that still puts us hundreds of degrees away from Venus-type conditions.

The bad news is that our seas would rise by a staggering fifty meters. So it may not be Venus, but Earth will definitely feel like another planet!

24

White holes

Lorentzian wormhole

Do white holes even exist? We’ve seen them in sci-fi enough times, yet conclusive proof has yet to be reached.

Firstly, what is a white hole? Imagine it like a black hole, only with a stomach bug. Instead of taking in stuff, it’s ejecting it.

Sorry, that’s a little undignified. A more rational explanation was offered by the great Albert Einstein. He believed a white hole came at the end of a black hole, like emerging from the end of a weird space water slide. This is better known as a wormhole, an idea thought up by Einstein together with physicist Nathan Rosen.

23

Dark energy

Image From Dark Energy Camera

Big Rip Theory relates to something called dark energy, and the idea that at some point the universe will begin to shred.

The theory goes that, as the universe expands, it becomes increasingly susceptible to the mysterious forces of dark energy.

Okay, so what’s that? Worryingly, it’s the reason why everything is expanding to begin with. Like some deranged megalomaniac, dark energy could be stretching our reality so thin that we’ll be stripped into oblivion.

22

Dark Stars

Large scale structure of dark matter

Where you have dark energy, you probably have dark stars.

Typically, a star is formed by nuclear fusion. With dark stars, it’s theorized that they’re created by dark matter destroying itself. Boy, they don’t call it “dark” for nothing, do they? That is definitely going to be in my thoughts when I hit the hay tonight.

21

Dark Fluid

Cosmic Ripples

This list is bringing you a whole lot of darkness! Dark fluid is of course linked to dark energy and dark matter. What’s the difference? Well, one shreds things and the other pulls them together.

As for dark fluid, an astrophysicist named Jamie Farnes suggested the idea. Essentially what it states is that dark energy and dark matter come together in a kind of cosmic pool.

Farnes’ theory is controversial, but it might just explain a few things. With dark energy supposedly taking up seventy-two percent of our universe and dark matter twenty-three percent, it makes sense that such a dominant force has more to it than meets the eye.

Mind you, it doesn’t meet the eye at all, as these things are invisible. I should stress, I am not an astrophysicist. 

20

Plasma cosmology

Extended logarithmic universe illustration

It all started with the Big Bang. Or did it? The plasma cosmology theory offers a different view.

Instead of a colossal explosion where everything flew outwards and formed a universe, the theory states that the universe is endless. Because it stretches endlessly in each direction, it couldn’t have had a big bang to begin with. Originating with electrical engineer Hannes Alfven, plasma cosmology downgraded gravity and focused on plasma as a driving force.

19

Universal Consciousness

Anaxagoras

Human beings are very much alive, though does this also apply to our universe? We think of it as a whole bunch of dead space that possibly contains other intelligent life forms. Are we missing a trick though? Does the universe actually have self-awareness and a consciousness of its own? There’s only one way to find out, apparently.

Universal consciousness is your key to the door of a vast space brain. There is a living energy underpinning everything around us, which sounds a lot like Star Wars does it not? It’s found in your subconscious which, like other theories of the universe, exists as a never-ending landscape where you can shape your future path. Universal consciousness is linked to the “universal mind”, which began with the ancient philosopher Anaxagoras.

18

A crushing realization

Purple and Black Galaxy

We all know the Earth isn’t flat. That theory was debunked years ago.

But I’m about to say something that will blow your mind. It might be the case that our universe is flat instead. Spatial flatness came about as a theory through the study of cosmic microwaves.

If you’re already getting a headache then you might want to pop a paracetamol, because there’s a big twist coming up.

A universe that’s theoretically flat will expand and keep expanding constantly. It’s stated that it will come to a stop after an infinite amount of time. Yet that only makes things more confusing, due to the fact that infinity lasts forever.

Under this theory, we seem to be living on one giant pancake, with a never-ending supply of batter being poured into the mix.

17

False vacuum

false and true vacuum

Is reality as we know it all there is? Not according to false vacuum theory. We may think we’re in a big vacuum. I’m not sure why the word “vacuum” is used but stick with me here! However, our vacuum is just one of various vacuums, other realities perhaps.

Look at it this way. We’re in a valley thinking that our reality is the only one. Meanwhile, not far away, another valley exists that runs even deeper. That is the so-called “true vacuum”.

If this doesn’t sound baffling enough, then get this. A false vacuum could potentially spell disaster for our universe. Because these vacuum theories are concerned with energy, they might result in an energy burst whereby the barrier between vacuums can be punctured.

False vacuums and true vacuums shouldn’t mix. Even a relatively small amount of true vacuum could slice through a false vacuum and cut our reality to pieces. Basically, this would suck. 

16

Multiverse theory

Multiverse

This is more like it. You’re probably familiar with the idea of multiverses through Marvel movies and such. But there’s more to a multiverse than a convenient way of rebooting your flagging franchise.

I was surprised to learn that the theory goes all the way back to Ancient Greece. I was even more surprised to learn that these people were talking about atoms, which I always figured was a more recent discovery.

The ancient thinkers speculated that when atoms were knocked together, they led to the creation of other universes.

15

Heat Death

Entropy image 100

The heat death of the universe doesn’t sound good. Where do we even start with this one?

How about entropy? A word used in physics, it’s essentially a measurement of thermal energy. Or to be more precise, a lack of thermal energy.

This type of energy is produced when atoms rub and bump together and is a vital force in our world. Indeed, without energy being generated, the whole universe is in hot water. When all energy has been used up, we run out of heat. It dies and so do we. It will potentially lead to an all-encompassing state known as the Big Freeze

14

Alien zoo hypothesis

Woman In Fence

If you’ve ever been to the zoo and looked in the monkey cage, you may feel sorry for the creature inside.

Well, how about this for a theory of the universe…? You’re also in a cage, and alien beings are looking at YOU. And, to make matters worse, they’re doing so without your knowledge!

Those are the basics of the alien zoo hypothesis, written about by astronomer John Ball in the nineteen seventies and based on a long-standing idea. It’s featured in sci-fi a lot, notably in the novel Childhood’s End, written by Arthur C. Clarke, the man who brought us 2001: A Space Odyssey.

You can also connect it to Fermi’s Paradox, which states that there’s no evidence of alien life out there. Well, if they’re observing us in a crazy space experiment then that might explain why we’re not seeing them…!

13

Steady State Universe theory

Big Bang and Steady-State Theory

I’m going to talk about an old theory now, which predates the Big Bang.

As in it’s a theory that was thought up before the Big Bang became the dominant way of thinking. Not that the theory was thought up before the Big Bang itself. That would be ridiculous, and the topic of a whole other video!

The Steady State theory dates back to British research in the late nineteen forties. It uses something called the Perfect Cosmological Principle. The simple explanation of this principle is that the universe keeps itself in constant balance.

So, by way of example, the universe is expanding and stars are dying. Yet at the same time, the Perfect Cosmological Principle ensures a steady supply of fresh material. This basically means the universe never changes in a major sense, it stays the same throughout history. Which is kind of reassuring if you think about it.

12

Eternal Return

Time Lapse Photo of Stars

What if the universe didn’t expand continuously, or stretch out so far that it eventually went snap?

Eternal Return is a theory that’s been around since ancient times and is reflected in various cultures.

It presents things in a kind of wheel formation, so the universe goes right around and then, as it gets to the end, it starts all over again.

The idea was brought to life in later centuries by the notorious philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

11

Quantum Consciousness after Death

Constellation

You hear the word “quantum” used a lot in science circles. What does it actually mean?

Quantum refers to the smallest amount of something, at least in a scientific sense.

Generally, you can take it to mean an amount. So when we talk about quantum consciousness theory, that supposedly reveals what happens to human consciousness after we pass away.

In essence, when the brain dies, the information inside it is sent away into the universe. The quantum of us, if you will, becomes part of the fabric of space-time.

10

The experiment

HHGTHG 1979 ICA Stage Production Flyer

A little earlier I spoke about alien zoo theory.

Expanding on this idea, what if our universe is part of a wider alien experiment?

An alien race could, theoretically, have resolved some of our fundamental scientific challenges and played god by creating their own universes, or “baby universes”. To this end, humanity is a project rather than a species.

You may have seen a similar idea in the sci-fi classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where the mice we experimented on were actually studying us.

9

Eternal Darkness

M87 Black Hole

Familiar with the idea of a supermassive black hole? We apparently have one at the center of our galaxy.

Whether it’s supermassive or not, a black hole is bad news. They’re created when stars collapse, resulting in a hole that everything in its path topples into.

There may at some point be so many of these enormous black holes that all light will be consumed, and we wind up in eternal darkness. I’m going to sleep with the light on tonight. 

8

Venus was a comet

Venus

One idea that alters our view of the universe is that of planets not being what we think they are.

In the regular way of thinking, planets form when a bunch of stuff gets pulled together in space. With Venus, however, there’s a theory stating that it may have started out as a comet streaking among the stars.

One Immanuel Velikovsky came up with the idea. The rather strange theory goes that Jupiter spat out Venus, which then flew across the solar system before coming within range of Mars and Earth

7

The Big Crunch Theory

Big Crunch

Some major theories go “bang”. And others go “crunch”!

We’ve talked a fair amount about an expanding universe. However, opinions on what will happen after all that expansion tend to vary.

The Big Crunch Theory states the universe will stop expanding and then start to shrink. The shrinkage ramps up the heat levels, with experts comparing the situation to a souffle.

It’s nightmarish to think of our universe ending up as a pile of superheated goo.

6

Dark matter creatures

Dark Matter

You thought we were done with all the dark stuff, didn’t you?

Dark matter, dark energy, dark fluid… well it turns out there’s more insanity to come.

This is in the shape of dark matter creatures. Theoretically, there might be things living in the darkness waiting to come out and meet us. Or indeed eat us. Way to make dark matter even scarier guys!

5

The Great Filter redux

Dark Starry Sky

This sounds like something you might find in a car mechanics manual.

The Great Filter Redux is the universe’s way of sorting the wheat from the chaff. It was outlined in the nineteen nineties by Robin Hanson, an economist. Er, okay, aren’t you supposed to be predicting recessions or something? Oh well.

The Great Filter supposedly makes sure we don’t get too above ourselves, or bump into any alien civilizations. It works by throwing a majorly destructive event into the mix. Some are concerned that our efforts to explore the stars might result in the filter being activated.

When that happens, we may be wiped out by a meteor or worse. 

4

Cosmic loneliness

Galaxy

I’m sure a few of you out there have experienced this.

Cosmic loneliness, the idea that we are isolated and alone in the universe.

Depressing though it sounds, this can be a possible theory of our reality. I hope it isn’t, but I don’t make the rules!

Why not beat cosmic loneliness by checking out some of our other videos? Don’t do it yet though, we still have some alarming universal theories to come… 

3

Death of the Sun

Sun

We rely on the Sun for… well, everything.

Heat, light, energy, gravity. But the sad fact is that it will eventually cease to be.

This day is in fact a long way off, billions of years off, thankfully. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned about it, or the impact it will have on our universe.

When the Sun is totally burned out, it might expand and burn up the surrounding planets. Plus, if a Sun is big enough it could leave behind a black hole. And that has serious consequences for both the galaxy and the universe.

2

Comets as alien probes

1IʻOumuamua

Seeing a comet in the sky is a beautiful experience. Some may mistake comets for planets or like I said earlier, they think that comets used to be planets. Yet there’s also another theory. And it’s quite a creepy one. While you’re looking up and marveling at the comet, it may well be looking down at you.

A few years back, two Harvard researchers were checking out Oumuamua. This is known as an unanchored object, free from gravity, which flew within range of our telescopes in 2017. It’s often called a comet, though to be honest there’s some ambiguity around the subject. Which brings me back to these two researchers. They suggest the unusual behavior of this.

1

Planet X

Universe

They don’t come much more mysterious than Planet X. It isn’t a new venture by Elon Musk, but an as-yet-undiscovered world far out in the solar system.

While Planet X is undiscovered, experts believe it’s probably there. They’ve crunched the numbers and come to this astonishing conclusion, based on an analysis announced in 2015. This world, also dubbed “Planet Nine”, is reportedly vast, and maybe ten times the mass of planet Earth. We won’t know for sure until it’s properly on our radar.

Enjoyed this list? Check out 25 Crazy Facts About The Universe.



Photo: 1. PlanetUser, Planet X (artist's rendition), CC BY-SA 4.0, 2. Alan Fitzsimmons | Isaac Newton Group | NASA, 1I/ʻOumuamua (Public Domain), 3. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center , Sun, CC BY 2.0, 4. Pexels | Alex Andrews, Galaxy, 5. Pexels | Aleksandar Pasaric, Dark Starry Sky, 6. United States Department of Energy, Dark Matter (Public Domain), 7. Wikimedia Commons, Big Crunch, CC BY-SA 3.0, 8. Kevin M. Gill, Venus, CC BY 2.0, 9. International Gemini Observatory/AURA/Lynette Cook, M87 Black Hole, CC BY 4.0, 10. Ken Campbell's Science Fiction Theatre, HHGTHG 1979 ICA Stage Production Flyer (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 11. Pexels | Felix Mittermeier, Constellation, 12. Pexels | Jakub Novacek, Time Lapse Photo of Stars, 13. Artistosteles, Big Bang and Steady-State Theory (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 14. Pexels | Andrea Piacquadio, Woman In Fence, 15. Binocularity, Entropy image 100, CC BY-SA 4.0, 16. K1234567890yVectorisation | Lokal_Profil, Multiverse (Public Domain), 17. SimplisticReps, false/true vacuum, CC BY-SA 4.0, 18. Pexels | Jeremy Müller, Purple and Black Galaxy, 19. Eduard Lebiedzki | Carl Rahl, Anaxagoras (Public Domain), 20. Pablo Carlos Budassi, Extended logarithmic universe illustration, CC BY-SA 4.0, 21. International Gemini Observatory | NOIRLab | NSF | AURA, Cosmic Ripples , CC BY 4.0, 22. NASA, ESA, and R. Massey (California Institute of Technology) , Large scale structure of dark matter (Public Domain), 23. ark Energy Survey Collaboration, Image From Dark Energy Camera, CC BY 4.0, 24. Original: AllenMcC. | Vector: KES47, Lorentzian wormhole , CC BY-SA 3.0, 25. Wikimedia Commons, Venus Earth Comparison (Public Domain)