• Question: how big is the universe

    Asked by beano on 24 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 24 Jun 2019:


      Genuinely massive.

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 24 Jun 2019:


      We really don’t know – but the size of the observable universe is currently estimated to be 93 billion light years in diameter!

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 25 Jun 2019:


      Hi! As Nina said the observable universe is thought to be about 93 billion light years in diameter – this makes my head hurt! But some clever computer algorithms that I don’t understand at all have predicted that the whole universe is about 250 times bigger than this. Some scientists believe that the universe is infinite – again this makes my head hurt. Measuring the size of the universe is extremely hard because it’s so big, and there are still issues with accuracy. But I think scientists are pretty confident that they’re at least quite close. This article was a really interesting read about the different ways they try to measure distances in the universe:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20160610-it-took-centuries-but-we-now-know-the-size-of-the-universe

    • Photo: Alex Blenkinsop

      Alex Blenkinsop answered on 25 Jun 2019:


      Bigger than we can even comprehend!

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 26 Jun 2019:


      The universe like the others have said is HUGE! the issue with giving it an actual size, is to do this accurately and without just using computer models, you would need to see it/send something to see it, all of it.

      To see something requires light being reflected into your eye, thus in order to see the size of the universe from Earth, we would need to see this light that has travelled from the very edge of the universe. the trouble being that the light would be travelling from so far away, that it would take more light years for it to reach us than the Earth has actually existed… therefore any light travelling from that distance would still be travelling to us!!!! Equally measuring it with an instrument would take longer, as we would have to send it out and wait for it to reach the destination before sending back the information!

      This is why scientists always refer to it as ‘the known universe, and beyond’.

      another point to consider is that the universe is constantly expanding… what is it expanding into? or is it that the matter of planets, stars and galaxies are just moving further out into the total darkness of what is actually really the universe already there, just without the matter reaching it yet….

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 27 Jun 2019:


      I was listening to a radio 4 podcast on this very topic- check out: ‘the infinite monkey cage’, and it truly depends on the limited tools we have to measure distance from a point on earth. Some may argue infinite as an answer, but others would feel uncomfortable about living in an infinitely large universe.. I guess it depends on what you are prepared to accept!

    • Photo: Deepak Chandrasekharan

      Deepak Chandrasekharan answered on 27 Jun 2019:


      What we can observe is 93billion, what we cannot observe beyond that…who knows!

      I love looking up into space as the feeling of being a small part of this big thing is pretty cool.

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