Universe and Saturn
Date: 1993 - 1999 - Update 2008
How big is the universe?
How many rings are around Saturn?
A quasar discovered in 1991 is believed to be about 14 billion light
years away from us, and is the most distant object known. It is moving away from
us at a speed very close to the speed of light, so it is near what we call "the
edge of the observable universe", though it is not really an edge at all.
Saturn has 7 main ring systems, denoted A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Each one is
made up of billions of particles, ranging in size from that of a grain of sand
to chunks as big as a house.
Update: July 2008
Based on data from the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation in 2004,
the universe appears to be around 150 Billion light-years wide*. Because the
universe appears to be around 14 Billion years old (and the farthest object
appears to be around 13 Billion light years away**), this seems paradoxical,
since nothing can normally exceed the speed of light. The answer is that space
itself has been expanding over all that time, carrying the objects in it (like
the "raisin in an expanding loaf" analogy).
Note that there have been several recent theories that our local universe is just
part of a larger "multiverse" containing other universes, but this hasn't been
Some references as noted above:
Update: June 2012