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What is a light year?

Info by Hungry for Knowledge | 2011-12-09 at 16:37

If you have never heard about the term light year before, maybe you think that a light year is a time value. But this is not the case. The light year is a specification for length.

When we talk about space and planets, we are talking about enormous long distances. These distances can be described only poorly with our normal lengths such as metres, kilometres or miles, because space distances displayed in miles would be monstrous in size.

So one agreed on the length unit light year to describe large disctances in space.  A light year is now defined as the distance traveled by light in exactly one year.

Since light takes it way with a gigantic spped of about 300,000 kilometers per second, one can estimate that therefore, a light year is 9.500.000.000.000 (9.5 trillion) kilometres long. In miles, this are about 5.800.000 million miles.


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