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How many light years away from the Sun are we?

Well, you could look up the numbers easily enough: The astronomical unit (the average distance between the Earth and the Sun) is defined as exactly 149,597,870,700 meters, whereas the light year is defined as the distance covered by light in a Julian year (365.25 days), which means exactly 9,460,730,472,580,800 meters. The rest is a simple division.

But instead of typing 149597870700/9460730472580800 into Google for you (yes, Google can serve as your calculator) let me show you how you can estimate the answer to this question reasonably accurately without looking up anything or using any calculator, so long as you remember two useful numbers.

It is not hard to remember that the Earth-Sun distance is roughly 150 billion meters; that is, the digits 15 are followed by 10 zeroes.

It is also not too hard to remember that a light year is roughly 10,000 trillion meters; that is, the digit 1 is followed by 16 zeroes.

So 15 followed by 10 zeroes divided by 1 followed by 16 zeroes… that’s the same as 15 followed by no zeroes at all divided by 1 followed by 6 zeroes; or 15 parts in a million. And that answer is correct within about 5.5%.

The error is due mainly to the fact that the light year is overestimated by more than 5%, so we underestimated the ratio. “Boosting” that 15 parts in a million by an extra 5% gives 15.8 parts in a million, which is actually quite accurate. But at this point, you’re probably better off using a calculator after all.


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Can you imagine how huge is the distance from the Earth to the Sun?

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
33 Comments
Scott Aird
Thank you ! Stephen Foster,
0
Nov 6, 2021 9:22PM
William Stoddart
I wonder what tape measure they used to measure it
0
Oct 30, 2021 4:48AM
Jim Mascair
I don't see why we would measure our distance to the sun in light-years or meters.
0
Mar 18, 2021 1:54PM
Stephen Foster
We are 8 light minutes from the sun. For light years divide bu the number of minutes in a year.
2
Jan 21, 2021 8:56PM
rodb
why would you measure the distance to the sun in meters?
0
Jan 12, 2021 4:53PM
Louis Nardone
The earth is 93 millions miles or 150 millions Km from the sun. As far as I know
2
Jul 2, 2020 5:23AM
Wendy Petty
Light reaches earth in about 8 minutes
2
Apr 10, 2020 5:29PM
Don Racette
Joan Scott-Lange You're DOGgone right...again.
1
May 21, 2019 9:17PM
Earl Bruce Morrison
seamus512, That's the number I recall.
0
May 15, 2019 10:09PM
Tom Kitchen
Thought I was really gonna learn something.
3
May 13, 2019 5:56PM
Joris van Pelt
The Sunlight takes 'only' 8 minutes and 20 sec's to travel with the speed of Light this 149.597.870 Km. / 92.955.807 miles from the Sun to our Earth.
0
May 6, 2019 5:49PM
seamus512
How bout 93 million miles?
4
May 6, 2019 12:37AM
Dan Drinkall
Or perhaps how wide the Milky Way is in Feet !
0
May 4, 2019 3:22PM
Dan Drinkall
Isn't that explanation a bit like informing us of how many inches it is from here to Timbuktu, or Paris ?
1
May 4, 2019 3:21PM
Nina Greco Clyde
It took a lot of work to figure out what I always knew. It is about 8 minutes and 15 seconds away.
1
May 3, 2019 5:02PM

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