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How old is the universe?


Question asked by: knowitall

This is an age old question.

And answers have varied from time to time - until very recently it was thought the universe was about 5,000 years old.

The age of the earth soon put paid to that and recently sophisticated scientific techniques have pointed at a much greater age.

Some have thought the question incoherent - or at least that its presupposition should be stated clearly - that is, that the universe has a beginning and therefore point where it came into existence.

However there seems to be strong evidence that the universe has not always existed and therefore this is a coherent question.

We need to say that if the big bang is true, we can go back only to say something like 'when was the big bang' as direct access to existence of the universe before then may be something we can never empirically have - depending on the definition of the big bang and what may have gone before.

Typical estimates of the age of the universe are around 14 - 18 billion years, based on globular clusters.

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