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Math and Arithmetic
Planetary Science

How old is the universe in seconds?


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March 07, 2011 9:15AM

An age of about 13.7 billion years (13.7 x 109 years) is a good estimate for the age of the universe. Set aside the uncertainty and consider that a year has 365 days, a day has 24 hours, an hour has 60 minutes and a minute has 60 seconds and the answer becomes a problem of simple calculation.

13.7 billion years x 365 days = 5.0 trillion days.

5.0 trillion days x 24 hours = 120 trillion hours.

120 trillion hours x 60 minutes = 7.2 quadrillion minutes

7.2 quadrillion minutes x 60 seconds = 432 quadrillion seconds.

Or, roughly 432,329,886,000,000,000 seconds, to 9 significant figures.

These kind of questions are unanswerable, and all answers become futile and inconsequent. Dimension or idea of time and space are separated from life and non-living things.

Firstly, the big bang theory is exactly this : a theory, at least at this moment.

It is the same thing as to ask : When the Universe shall disappear ? To set an estimated time is necessary to set a beginning. Therefore, it is impossible to give any kind of estimating age for anything that you don't know how and when it started.

Just a comment on the mathematics: If you are going to give the answer to 9 significant figures, then the number of days in a year ought to be to more than three significant figures. For example 365.25 would be slightly more accurate. But given the age is estimated it doesn't seem worth going to too many significant figures anyway. Having done my own calculations (based on a figure of 13.75 billion years) I came to an answer of 434 million billion seconds. When I searched to check my calculations I was pleased to find the answer quoted above is nearly the same.