Pause for a moment.

Pause and listen to Reinbert de Leeuw’s illumined recording of Erik Satie’s Ogives.

This music stops everything.  It makes the now fade away.

As you listen, use that moment to ponder the long-term destiny of the earth and the universe in this Wikipedia article: Timeline of the Far Future.

Highlights include:

In 50 thousand years, “Niagara Falls will have eroded away the remaining 32 km to Lake Erie, and ceased to exist.”

In 100 thousand years, “the proper motion of stars across the celestial sphere… renders many of the constellations unrecognizable.”

In less than 1 million years, “the red supergiant star Betelgeuse explodes in a supernova. The explosion is expected to be easily visible in daylight.”

In 50 million years, “Africa’s collision with Eurasia closes the Mediterranean Basin and creates a mountain range similar to the Himalayas.”

After 230 million years, “The orbits of the planets become impossible to predict.” [PS: remember the slow approach of chaos in this planetary motion simulator?]

In 600 million years, “tidal acceleration moves the Moon far enough from Earth that total solar eclipses are no longer possible.”

In 800 million years, “carbon dioxide levels fall to the point at which C4 photosynthesis is no longer possible. Multicellular life dies out.”

In 7.9 billion years, the Sun, now a red giant, reaches “its maximum radius of 256 times the present day value. … During these times, it is possible that Saturn’s moon Titan could achieve surface temperatures necessary to support life.”

In 100 billion years, “the Universe’s expansion causes all galaxies beyond the Milky Way’s Local Group to disappear beyond the cosmic light horizon, removing them from the observable universe.”

In 1 trillion years, “star formation ends in galaxies as galaxies are depleted of the gas clouds they need to form stars. … The universe’s expansion… multiplies the wavelength of the cosmic microwave background by 1029, exceeding the scale of the cosmic light horizon and rendering its evidence of the Big Bang undetectable.”

By 1 quadrillion years from now, “the Sun will have cooled to five degrees above absolute zero.”

In 3×1043 years from now, assuming protons can decay, black holes will be the only objects left in the universe.

What happens after that, when Boltzmann brains start popping into existence and the Poincaré recurrence theorem gives us another big bang (because of math), I leave to you to read.

And don’t forget to take a look at Satie’s beautiful score for the Ogives.


Erik Satie Ogives 1-4 (Reibert de Leeuw, piano)


Erik Satie Ogives (Les Anges, Elegie, Sylvie, Les Fleurs)