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The Wikipedia subsection Observable Universe; Misconceptions on its size shows this image of a plaque, with the caption:

An example of the misconception that the radius of the observable universe is 13 billion light-years. This plaque appears at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.

According to Wikipedia:

The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a part of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Center's complete name is The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space. The main entrance is located on the northern side of the museum on 81st Street near Central Park West in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Completed in 2000, it includes the new Hayden Planetarium, the original of which was opened in 1935 and closed in 1997. Neil deGrasse Tyson is its first and, to date, only director.

That last line is the operative part. Dr. Tyson is a world-renowned stickler for truth and accuracy, and so a problem in is own back yard needs to be investigated.

  1. What exactly is wrong with this plaque photographed in 2011?
  2. What should it have said?
  3. If something is indeed wrong, has it been fixed?

Incorrect plaque at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, April 2011

above: Incorrect plaque at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, April 2011

below: Rose Center for Earth and Space Source which literally contains the famous Hayden Planetarium.

Rose Center for Earth and Space which literally contains the Hayden Planetarium.


Update: I just noticed that even in 2011 the plaque had already been amended (at least) once!

Correction to Rose Center for Earth and Space which literally contains the Hayden Planetarium.

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    $\begingroup$ Due to expansion, the radius of the observable universe is 46 billion lightyears. OTOH, thete are a few options when assigning numbers to cosmological distances. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distance_measures_(cosmology) $\endgroup$ – PM 2Ring May 7 '19 at 1:27
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    $\begingroup$ I would imagine, "13 billion year old universe, the cosmic horizon is 46 billion light years away" would require an additional plaque to explain the expanding universe and perhaps be confusing to many. $\endgroup$ – userLTK May 7 '19 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/3635/… $\endgroup$ – ProfRob May 7 '19 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ Might even be semantic. The cosmic horizon is 13 billions ly away does really implies a distance or it can be interpreted correctly? English is not my language, but it could refer to the real situation, no signal can have travelled for a time longer than the universe age. But indeed it is quite a source of misconception. I would have interpreted it in the wrong way just few years ago, before studying a bit more on the subject. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista May 8 '19 at 8:31
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    $\begingroup$ Latest radio telescopic array numbers put date at around 12.7 billion years. That's probably too new a number to be involved in here. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger May 11 '19 at 15:43
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I see 2 candidates:

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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't it be funny if it was 14 underneath those stickers that say 13? ;-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 7 '19 at 10:40
  • $\begingroup$ or if it were 46? $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 7 '19 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ It could have said ".... 46 billions ly away because meantime space has expanded, as is still expanding. " or something like that. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista May 8 '19 at 8:34

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