Ask Astro: Why does the Moon disappear during New Moon? All we know for sure (mostly for sure) is that it’s bigger than we can observe, essentially because the farthest edges of the universe we can see don’t look like edges. That’s a lot of time, but the universe is big enough that scientists are pretty sure that there’s space outside our observable bubble, and that the universe just isn’t old enough yet for that light to have reached us. First, it’s still possible the universe is finite. That’s because we know the universe isn’t infinitely old — we know the Big Bang occurred some 13.8 billion years ago. Enter the Space & Beyond Box Photo Contest! Signal. A few generations of telescopes — COBE, WMAP, and Planck — sought to understand the shape of the universe. The Great Filter: a possible solution to the Fermi Paradox, The Big Freeze: How the universe will die, Inside the quest to use cosmic explosions as distance markers, Half the matter in the cosmos was missing, but astronomers found it, Under the stellar sea: Hubble captures a Cosmic Reef, The Degenerate Era: When the universe stops making stars. View our Privacy Policy. The observable universe is still huge, but it has limits. Was it curved like a ball, or flat like a piece of paper? Get ready for this Halloween’s Blue Hunter's Moon, Infinity & Beyond — Episode 9: Saturn's rings, Infinity & Beyond — Episode 8: Black holes 101, Queen guitarist Brian May and David Eicher launch new astronomy book. By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. If it were curved, and if we could measure the curve, we could work out the size of the universe. View our Privacy Policy. Opinion: SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are about to ruin stargazing for everyone, Prospects for life on Venus dim in reanalysis of phosphine data, Sun-like star identified as the potential source of the Wow! But all three telescopes say the universe is flat, which tells us nothing about the size of the universe. How do stars create (and release) energy? Is it better to use a telescope or binoculars to observe space? That means that light has had “only” 13.8 billion years to travel. The universe is unquestionably huge. (In a fun twist, the universe has expanded since the Big Bang, so the objects that we see emitting light 13.8 billion years ago are now some 46 billion light-years away.). The observable universe is still huge, but it has limits. But is there even more that exists outside our observable bubble? Last chance to join our 2020 Costa Rica Star Party! We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter. 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