• Donjuanme@lemmy.world
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    7 days ago

    Just the other day I heard a “science” person say the nearest star was billions of miles away (I think it was on dropout TV, but it may have been YouTube), and I understand that billions may as well be unreachable, but trillions is a not a non-understandable number. Why do we want so badly to scale things to dimensions contained in our own solar system?

    • SlopppyEngineer@lemmy.world
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      7 days ago

      To demonstrate how mind boggling huge space actually is.

      I like the demo where the guy puts a pea for the sun on the ground, a tiny dot for Earth and then drives out of state to put down a radish seed to display Proxima Centauri to scale. It shows those trillions of kilometers nicely.

    • brsrklf@jlai.lu
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      7 days ago

      Approximately 4 light-years, that’s how I’ve always heard that distance described.

      Now I am not sure the distance light travels in one year is easier to grasp, but at least it’s a single digit.

      • this_1_is_mine@lemmy.world
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        7 days ago

        Our Light makes it from the giant fusion explosion to us on the mud ball in 8 minutes. And 5.5 hours to the poor butt of a joke that is Pluto. So … 4 years you say…

        • Piemanding@sh.itjust.works
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          6 days ago

          Actually, it takes light between 10,000 to 170,000 years to reach the surface of the sun. It bounces around in there for a long time since all the fusion actually happens in the core.

          • this_1_is_mine@lemmy.world
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            5 days ago

            Yeah my time measurements were from the edge of explosion to here (on the dirt ball). As the interior time measurement is well outside understandable time frames. Which is what my comment was trying to frame.

        • illi@lemm.ee
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          7 days ago

          the poor butt of a joke that is Pluto

          You take that back!

  • deegeese@sopuli.xyz
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    7 days ago

    I had to check that math in my head.

    4ly = 4yr • 3.1 * 10^7 sec/yr • 3 * 10^5 km/sec ≈ 36 trillion km

    • ChrisOP
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      7 days ago

      Multiply by 0.6214 to get miles = 22 trillion miles

      • deegeese@sopuli.xyz
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        7 days ago

        I’m sure they have the right number. Mine was a ballpark estimate, as one does in physics. I think Proxima Centauri is about 4.2ly from Earth.

        • RecluseRamble@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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          6 days ago

          Yes, too much rounding will do that (also the approximation of a year shaved off more than a percent). Taking more precise numbers, it fits:

          4.2465 ly * 365.2425 days/yr * 24 * 3,600 * 299,792,458 km/s * 0.6214 ~ 24.96 e15 miles

        • ChrisOP
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          7 days ago

          I was just doing the extra conversion because the comic is in miles. The figures are pretty close, and the extra .2ly would account for the discrepancy. Looks good to me!