There are several misconceptions going around about how old the Universe is. Cosmologists have been able to refine their results to prove that it is some 13.75 billion years old. This should theoretically mean that we cannot see things that are located further than 13.75 billion light-years away.
And this would be true too, were it not for Universal expansion. The visible parts of the Cosmos are not in fact nearly 28 billion years wide, but 90 billion years wide. This finding was made by analyzing background radiation permeating all space.
Some photons in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) that have been detected here were determined to have traveled more than 45 billion years before finally reaching our location.
So, we know that the visible Universe is big, but cosmologists have been wondering for a long time how big the rest of it is. They are of course referring to its invisible part, which is undoubtedly much larger than we were led to believe.
University of Oxford investigator Mihran Vardanyan and his team discovered the answer by creating and studying interesting statistical models of the Cosmos as a whole. The researchers determined that it is some 250 times bigger than the Hubble volume.
This volume is comparable in size to that of the observable Universe. Thus far, conducting studies to analyze the volume of the thing has been very difficult, due to the fact that no one could really determine the curvature of the Universe, Technology Review reports.
Being able to do so is one of the most important steps in establishing the size of the Cosmos with certainty. Curvature places drastic limitation on size and volume, physicists say.
There are numerous methods being used in the international astronomical community today for establishing curvature, but the Oxford team used an approach called Bayesian model averaging to take them all into account.
Due to its elegance, this statistical method is bound to be used in other areas of cosmology as well, for placing limitations on a variety of parameters that are currently undetermined.