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<How Can We See Galaxies 47 Billion Light Years Away When the Universe is Only 13 Billion Years Old? ⁄ >

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This is my second post in the Just Science Week Challenge.

This 2003 paper in Physical Review Letters puts a lower limit on the size of the universe at no smaller than 46.5 billion light years in radius. If the universe is geometrically flat, that is.

In this video I made on the Hubble Deep Field, I mentioned this number and was immediately inundated with questions and comments from people screaming that that number could not possibly be correct. How can the universe be that big if the fastest anything can travel is the speed of light? The universe simply CAN'T be larger than the distance light travels during age of the universe, right?


It is true that the universe is 13.5 billion years old, and it is also true that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. But it does NOT follow that the size of the universe is simply the distance light traveled in 13.5 billion years. You can't stop there. Why?

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