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Observable Universe

You know what the universe is right, however have you heard of the ‘Observable Universe’ and do you know what it means?

The answer to what the observable universe is in its name. Its the observable part of the universe, the part of the universe that we can see and what we can detect.


From what we know and from what we can see and detect through study and exploration, the universe is infinite, meaning there is an unlimited amount of everything that makes up the universe. So how are we supposed to know where we are in the universe. Well, this is where the observable universe comes in.



The observable universe through study, is commonly known to be 93 billion light years across. That is 93 billion light years in any direction, so that is an unimaginably massive area, and very hard for people to understand how the observable universe is measured. It’s based on the light that has travelled from the edge of the observable universe to Earth. Light that has not travelled and reached Earth would be anything that is outside of the observable universe, which is the known ‘universe’ Confused yet? 


So, what is outside the observable universe is the question. We simply don’t know. There are many theories, but we are just not there yet in discovering what is outside of the observable universe.


What is important however is that we measure the universe that we can see, which is the observable part, and the rest we will figure out in time. Measuring the observable also allows us to understand where we are in the universe, what Earth means to the universe, and what the universe means to Earth.     

Where are we in the observable universe? Well for a more detailed explanation. Refer to section Our Place In the Universe

See illustration below. This is a more detailed and drilled down look to roughly where Earth is in the observable universe. Earth is in the Milky Way which is part of the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies.


See the video link below to Earth and the observable universe at scale.


Kids Fun Facts Corner

# 1. The observable universe has 28 billion parsecs wide.

# 2. The observable universe is over 13.8 billion years old.

# 3. There are over 3 trillion galaxies in the observable universe.


Q&A Corner

Q. How wide is the observable universe?

Q. How old is the observable universe?

Q. How many galaxies are in the observable universe?

Q. What supercluster is the Milky Way in? 

Q. What galaxy is Earth in?

Download questions about the observable universe here: observable universe (answers are on this page)

For further reading and more information on observable universe visit universe

Key Vocabulary Observable. Universe. Galaxies. Earth. Light. Year.


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