The Cosmic Calendar is a method to visualize the chronology of the universe, scaling its current age of 13.8 billion years to a single year in order to help intuition in for pedagogical purposes in science education or popular science.
In this visualization, the Big Bang took place at the beginning of January 1 at midnight, and the current moment maps onto the end of December 31 just before midnight. At this scale, there are 437.5 years per second, 1.575 million years per hour, and 37.8 million years per day.
The concept was popularized by Carl Sagan in his book The Dragons of Eden (1977) and on his television series Cosmos. Sagan goes on to extend the comparison in terms of surface area, explaining that if the Cosmic Calendar is scaled to the size of a football field, then “all of human history would occupy an area the size of [his] hand”.
A graphical view of the Cosmic Calendar for presentations, featuring the months of the year, days of December, and the final minute.
Copied from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_Calendar
While predictions of the future can never be absolutely certain, present understanding in various fields allows for the prediction of far-future events, if only in the broadest outline. These fields include astrophysics, which has revealed how planets and stars form, interact, and die; particle physics, which has revealed how matter behaves at the smallest scales; evolutionary biology, which predicts how life will evolve over time; and plate tectonics, which shows how continents shift over millennia.
An artist’s concept of a charred Earth seven billion years from now, after the Sun has entered the red giant phase
All projections of the future of the Earth, the Solar System, and the Universe must account for the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy, or a loss of the energy available to do work, must increase over time. Stars eventually must exhaust their supply of hydrogen fuel and burn out. Close encounters gravitationally fling planets from their star systems, and star systems from galaxies.
Eventually, matter itself is expected to come under the influence of radioactive decay, as even the most stable materials break apart into subatomic particles. Current data suggest that the universe has a flat geometry (or very close to flat), and thus, will not collapse in on itself after a finite time, and the infinite future potentially allows for the occurrence of a number of massively improbable events, such as the formation of a Boltzmann brain.
The timelines displayed here cover events from the beginning of the 11th millennium[a] to the furthest reaches of future time. A number of alternate future events are listed to account for questions still unresolved, such as whether humans will become extinct, whether protons decay, or whether Earth will survive the Sun’s expansion into a red giant.
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The chronology of the universe describes the history and future of the universe according to Big Bang cosmology. The metric expansion of space is estimated to have begun 13.8 billion years ago. The time since the Big Bang is also known as cosmic time. For the purposes of this summary, it is convenient to divide the chronology of the universe into four parts:
The very early universe, from the Planck epoch until the cosmic inflation, or the first picosecond of cosmic time; this period is the domain of active theoretical research, currently beyond the grasp of experiments in particle physics.
The early universe, from the Quark epoch to the Photon epoch, or the first 380,000 years of cosmic time, when the familiar forces and elementary particles have emerged but the universe remains in the state of a plasma, followed by the “Dark Ages”, from 380,000 years to about 150 million years during which the universe was transparent but no large-scale structures had yet formed.
The period of large-scale structure formation, including stellar evolution, galaxy formation and evolution and the formation of galaxy clusters and superclusters, from about 150 million years to present, and prospectively until about 100 billion years of cosmic time; The thin disk of our galaxy began to form at about 5 billion years. The solar system formed at about 4.6 billion years ago, with the earliest traces of life on Earth emerging by about 3.5 billion years ago.
The far future, after cessation of stellar formation, with various scenarios for the ultimate fate of the universe.
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