November 11, 2012 - In its youth, the universe was a roiling soup of star
ingredients, with new stars forming rapidly. But now itâ€™s much quieter, and things are not expected to get more exciting anytime soon, astronomers say. For the first time, astronomers have figured out the universe's star-birth rate, and found that today, it's 30 times lower than its likely peak some 11 billion years ago. As a result, all of the future stars may be no more than a 5 percent increase above what weâ€™ve got now. Astronomers
figured this out by taking snapshots of the universe at 2, 4, 6 and 9 billion years of age. (Itâ€™s 13.7 billion years old now.) The results show a clear decline in star-forming activity. A team led by David Sobral at Leiden Observatory studied the universeâ€™s hydrogen-alpha emission line, which is a reliable indicator of star formation. They used Japan's Subaru Telescope and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and the Very Large Telescope
in Chile, covering a huge portion of the sky.
â€śWe are clearly living in a universe dominated by old stars. All of the action in the universe occurred billions of years ago,â€ť Sobral said in a statement.
Better go enjoy them while we still can.