1190.12 – Light Year

A light year is the distance that light travels in a year. How far is this, if light travels 186,000 miles per second?

Solution 60secmin60minhr24hrday365.25daysyear=31,557,600secyear186,000misec31,557,600secyear=5,869,714,000,000miyear \begin{aligned}\frac{60 sec}{min}\cdot\frac{60 min}{hr}\cdot\frac{24 hr}{day}\cdot\frac{365.25 days}{year} = \frac{31,557,600 sec}{year}\\\\ \frac{186,000 mi}{sec}\cdot\frac{31,557,600 sec}{year}= \frac{5,869,714,000,000 mi}{year} \end{aligned}

So one light year is almost 6 trillion miles.

The average distance from the earth to the sun is 93,000,000 miles, or 0.00001584 light years, or 8.333 light minutes. If the sun suddenly went out, we wouldn't know it for 8.333 minutes. The nearest star to earth (after the sun), Alpha Centauri, is 4.367 light years away.