If you're wondering to yourself how anything can be further away than (age of Universe) * (speed of light), read up on comoving distance and the metric expansion of spacetime. I wrote a fairly lengthy series of comments on this six months ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1317907
Further, he repeatedly draws conclusions that, if proven, would win him a Nobel Prize. The biggest is that black holes can't exist. Others include having solved both the flatness problem and the horizon problem and ruling out the only known explanation of the CMBR without replacing it with anything else.
But, rather than take my word for it, you should just apply the Baez Index: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html
Trin Tragula--for that was his name--was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.
And she would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake.
"Have some sense of proportion!" she would say, sometimes as often as thirty-eight times in a single day.
And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex--just to show her.
And into one end, he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the other, he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she saw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.
To Trin Tragula's horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain, but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion.
-- Douglas Adams, _The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_
First, the observable universe. From WP:
The comoving distance from Earth to the edge of the observable universe is about 14 billion parsecs (46.5 billion light-years) in any direction. The visible universe is thus a sphere with a diameter of about 28 billion parsecs (about 93 billion light-years). Assuming that space is roughly flat, this size corresponds to a comoving volume of about 3×10^80 cubic meters. This is equivalent to a volume of about 41 decillion cubic light-years short scale (4.1 × 10^34 cubic light years).
Now for the whole universe:
According to the theory of cosmic inflation and its founder, Alan Guth, if it is assumed that inflation began about 10^-37 seconds after the Big Bang, then with the plausible assumption that the size of the Universe at this time was approximately equal to the speed of light times its age, that would suggest that at present the entire Universe's size is at least 10^23 times larger than the size of the observable Universe.
In the earliest part of the Big Bang time did exist. The Big Bang created time.
In the early universe, before the plank epoch when we had particles of plank length or less, you know, things with a schwarzschild radius? The entire universe made of things that are black holes, nothing but black holes? Those time-ending particles that disappeared in their own hawking radiation? The first early 10^−43 seconds, where time didn't actually exist? Those were the good old days.
If time didn't exist, then how did the universe know when those 10^-43 seconds were up?
Seriously, I think this discussion is proceeding at a level which probably shouldn't be attempted by non-cosmologists. We all probably have a bunch of misconceptions we've picked up from popularizations about the Big Bang, and would only embarrass ourselves if any cosmologists happen to show up.
Edit: Uh oh, I seem to have angered the downvote police. Sorry, uh... yay fractions?
Or perhaps that suggests we've only been able to observe so far in either direction.
From having listened to Dr Pamela Gay on Astronomy Cast for the last few years, I thought the general line of thinking now was that there is no center (or if there is, it's "everywhere") due to way it loops around on itself.
Is this actually true? According to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_length): The physical significance of the Planck length, if any, is not yet known.
So, 3 cm is formatted as 10^-2 * 3 m, rather than the (in my opinion, correct) 3 * 10^-2 m. The power of ten is what is given a shorthand as "centi" in "cm", so it just disrupts it totally when they're swapped.
I realize the point is probably to make the order of magnitude more important than the actual value ("cm" is more interesting than "3 cm"), to get a sense of scale. Still, I found it ugly and hard to read.
Also, a Giant Earthworm that's the length of a small car? What what what?
Really great data viz, thanks for posting it.
A technical question: How was relative scale so efficiently kept between all those objects?
That's a massive gap compared to scales larger than the neutrino. Is there are reason?
It would make an interesting sci-fi movie, to finally make contact with an advanced race that lives inside an electron.