NASA explains how far light from the Sun will travel throughout 2024

NASA has explained in a video just how far light emitted from the Sun on January 1 will travel throughout the entire year of 2024.

1 minute & 5 seconds read time

The vastness of space is quite difficult to imagine, especially considering the general measurement used to measure distances between objects is light years, but what does that actually mean? And how would light travel throughout an entire year?

What is a light year? To understand this, we must first know what light-time is - the distance light travels within a specific period of time. In just one light-second, a photon of light has traveled 186,000 miles or 300,000 kilometers. In one light minute, light travels 11,160,000 miles, and one light hour is 671 million miles. With these measurements, we can understand that it takes 8.2 minutes for light from the Sun to reach Earth and 43.2 minutes for it to reach Jupiter.

But what about an entire day? Light from the Sun will travel 16.1 billion miles over the course of a day, reaching far beyond the Kuiper Belt and 29 light-days to the inner wall of the Oort Cloud, a collection of dormant comets that would take light 1.87 years to reach. Light from the Sun will travel 5.8 trillion miles over the course of one year, and the closest star and exoplanet are Proxima Centauri & Proxima B, located 4.25 light-years from Earth.

"Our galaxy probably contains 100 to 400 billion stars, and is about 100,000 light-years across [588 quadrillion miles]. That sounds huge, and it is, at least until we start comparing it to other galaxies. Our neighboring Andromeda galaxy, for example, is some 220,000 light-years wide. Another galaxy, IC 1101, spans as much as 4 million light-years," writes NASA

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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