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2.17 List of astronomical distances


List of astronomical distances


The following distances can help to imagine astronomical proportions.


List of astronomical distances
Distance fromDistance toQuantityName of unit Abbreviation of unit name km
Earth's centreEarth's surface6 378 kilometrekm 6 x 103
Earth's centreEarth's surface0.021 light seconds 6 x 103
Earth's diameter12 756 kilometrekm 13 x 103
Perimeter of Earth's surface 40 000 kilometrekm 40 x 103
Perimeter of Earth's surface 0.134 light seconds 40 x 103
EarthMoon 400 000 kilometrekm 400 x 103
EarthMoon 1 light second s 400 x 103
Moon's diameter 3 474 kilometrekm 3 x 103
EarthSun 149 600 000 kilometrekm 149 x 106
EarthSun 1 astronomical unitAU 149 x 106
EarthSun 8 light minutemin 149 x 106
Sun's diameter 1 392 700 kilometrekm 1 x 106
SunMercury 0.4 astronomical unitAU 60 x 106
SunVenus 0.7 astronomical unitAU 108 x 106
SunEarth 1.0 astronomical unitAU 150 x 106
SunMars 1.5 astronomical unitAU 228 x 106
SunJupiter 5.2 astronomical unitAU 778 x 106
SunSaturn 9.5 astronomical unitAU 1 x 109
SunUranus 19.2 astronomical unitAU 3 x 109
SunNeptune 30.1 astronomical unitAU 4 x 109
SunNeptune 4 495 000 000 kilometrekm 4 x 109
SunNeptune 4.16 light hourh 4 x 109
SunOort cloud 50 000 - 100 000 astronomical unitAU 12 x 1012
SunOort cloud 1.00 - 1.87 light yearly 12 x 1012
SunProxima Centauri in the constellation Centaurus, star closest to the Sun 4.2 light yearly 40 x 1012
Diameter of Proxima Centauri 0.14 Sun's diameterD Sun 200 x 103
SunSirius, the brightest star in the night sky, in the constellation Canis Major 8.6 light yearly 240 x 1012
Diameter of Sirius 1.7 Sun's diameterD Sun 2 x 106
SunRegulus in the constellation Leo 77.5 light yearly 730 x 1012
Diameter of Regulus 3.2 Sun's diameterD Sun 4 x 106
SunBetelgeuse in the constellation Orion 643 light yearly 6 x 1015
Diameter of Betelgeuse 950-1200 Sun's diameterD Sun 1 x 109
Diameter of Betelgeuse900 000 000 kilometrekm 900 x 106
SunStar W26 in star cluster Westerlund 1 in constellation Altar 16 000 light yearly 150 x 1015
Diameter of star W26, largest known star of universe 3000 Sun's diameterD Sun 4 x 109
Diameter of star W26. W26 was discovered 1998. 4 000 000 000 kilometrekm 4 x 109
Sun Centre of Milky Way25 000 light yearly240 x 1015
Sun Down to axis of Milky Way68 light yearsly643 x 1012
Diameter of Milky Way 100 000 light yearly950 x 1015
Thickness of Milky Way 16 000 light yearly150 x 1015
Milky Way Andromeda-Galaxy 2 400 000light yearly 23 x 1018
Milky Way Galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices 60 000 000light yearly 570 x 1018
Milky Way Most distant known galaxy 13 370 000 000light yearly 130 x 1021


The perimeter of Earth's surface is 40 000 km long and light needs 0.134 seconds for this distance. The distance from one point on the surface of the Earth to the furthest point on the surface of the Earth is therefore 20 000 km and that are then 0.067 seconds for light. So when my computer retrieves a webpage from a server then probably less than 0.067 seconds are needed to bring this request from here to there. So in one second this exchange of request and confirmation could happen several times.

When one knows the perimeter of the surface of Earth, 40 000 km, then one can also easily remember the distance of the Moon, tenfold: 400 000 km.

The diameter of the star Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion is larger than the diameter of the orbit of the planet Mars. Betelgeuse has a diameter of 900 000 000 km and the diameter of the orbit of Mars is 450 000 000 km (3.04 AU). The diameter of Betelgeuse is therefore double the diameter of the orbit of the planet Mars around the Sun.

The distance from us to the Sun is 8 light minutes and that is 0.000016 light years. The distance between the Sun and the next star is 4.2 light years and that is then 265 000 times the distance between us and our Sun. The distance between our galaxy and the next one is 2 400 000 light years and that is then 570 000 times the distance between our Sun and the next sun. And the distance between our galaxy and the most distant known galaxy is 13 370 000 000 light years and that is 5 600 times the distance between us and the next galaxy.

The Andromeda Nebula M 13, seen near the double star Gamma Andromedae, is the largest galaxy neighbour of our Milky Way. It is also the most distant object still visible to the naked eye. The distance from earth is about 2.5 million light-years.

A good example for a comparison is to compare the Sun with the Moon. The Sun has an angular size of 32 minutes, seen from us, and the Moon of 30. So they seem to be of more or less the same size. But the Sun is 374 times further away than the Moon and therefore we can imagine how much larger the Sun really is than the Moon. The diameter of the Sun is 3.5 times the distance from us to the Moon.

The Equator is 40 000 km long (3600). The western hemisphere is 20 000 km long (1800), measured on the Equator, and so is the eastern. The northern hemisphere is also 20 000 km long (1800) measured from the Equator over the North Pole to the other side of the Equator and the southern hemisphere over the South Pole. That is also the longest possible distance to another point on the surface of the Earth.

The distance from the middle of the northern hemisphere to the middle of southern is 10 000 km (900). This is a quarter of the length of the Equator. From latitude 600 north to latitude 300 south (900), measured on 300 of longitude for instance, that would be from the area of St Petersburg in Europe to the area of Durban in southern Africa, the distance is 10 000 km (900). On the Equator such a distance of 10 000 km (900) would be from Ecuador in South America in the western hemisphere (-800) to Equatorial Guinea or Gabon in West Africa in the eastern hemisphere (+100).

And the distance from Gabon in West Africa (+100) to Sumatra (+1000), an island of Indonesia, is also 10 000 km (900).

So a traveller travelling from Quito, the capital of Ecuador, to Singapore, which is close to Sumatra, and where the distance is about 20 000 km (1800), would have a choice to go west or east.

So a traveller from Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, to Shanghai in Communist China, would have the same choice. Buenos Aires coordinates are very roughly -600 (Longitude 600 W) and -300 (Latitude 300 S) and the ones of Shanghai are very roughly 1200 east (Longitude 1200 E) and 300 north (Latitude 300 N).

Both travellers actually have not just got two choices of choosing their direction, but an infinite number of choices because they can go in any direction they want. After going about 20 000 km (1800) in one direction, on the surface of the Earth, they would come to their destination.

If a person starts travelling from New Zealand, it does not matter in what direction, and travels for 20 000 km (1800) without changing direction, he would end up in south west Europe.

A traveller starting to travel from Honolulu on Hawaii in any direction he likes would come to Botswana in southern Africa when he keeps on travelling for 20 000 km (1800) without changing direction. He would start a little bit south of the Tropic of Cancer and would land a little bit north of the Tropic of Capricorn. He could travel via one the two poles or he could stay all the time in the tropics.

When we here talk about direction then it is of course the direction in the horizontal plane tangential to the surface of the Earth and vertically the direction would change according the curvature of the surface of the Earth.

If a man flies from Durban (300 S and 300 E) in southern Africa to the north for 10 000 km (900), that would be on +300 of longitude, then he comes to St Petersburg (600 N and 300 E) in Europe, his first stopover. And then he flies another 10 000 km (900) in the same direction and passes over the North Pole on his second leg and does not stop there, but carries on, now on -1500 of longitude in south direction, and comes to a place in the Pacific not far from Hawaii, north east of Hawaii and also north of the Tropic of Cancer, his second stopover (300 N and 1500 W), and from there he then carries on with a third leg and after a third 10 000 km (900), always in the same direction, on -1500 of longitude, still towards the South Pole, he comes to a place (600 S and 1500 W) not far from the Antarctiv Circle but still outside of the Antarctic Circle, his third stopover, and from there he then starts his fourth and last leg of this trip, over the South Pole, and ends his journey back in Durban (300 S and 300 E).

The man travelled around the world, always on the same meridian, on the same line of terrestrial longitude.

But the distance of 20 000 km (1800) to the most distand point on Earth, is only for people with limitations, that means for people who travel with their body. Without their body, in an out of body experience, or having been transfigured or after death, being a fairly spiritual person, the distance is only 12 756 km, the diameter of the Earth.

So the travelling distance is shorter, but the travelling time can be reduced to zero with this advanced mode of travel. And this is the big advantage when travelling through space, and such a traveller will also not be much interested in the physics of other celestial bodies, but in the same things the majority of mankind is interested in and that are the beings on these celestial bodies and they are plenty and on every one of them. Only he will perceive them, not the one who comes with his state of consciousness he brings with him from the planet called Earth.

Space travelling with the use of machines is quite a new thing, but travelling without a body is an ancient thing and men have done it as long as they exist. In African history it is for example known that the Africans once had the power to travel spiritually in different worlds. And plenty of people do it today, Robert Monroe for instance has written most interesting books about his travels and he says that one can reconnoitre the Moon, the solar system and the galaxy, in case one is interested in this. He was not. He was interested in the beings he met. That was much more interesting and so will it be for all space travellers as soon as they will be able to do space traveller the right way, the spiritual way. Then they will lose interest in picking up rocks and bringing them back.

Coming back to travelling in space and time, it is useful to know the length of the Equator in order to roughly estimate large distances on the surface of the Earth.

Here now a summary of the units used in above table:

1 km1 kilometre11 x 100
1 D Sun1 Sun's diameter1 392 7001.3927 x 106
1 AU1 astronomical unit149 600 000149.6 x 106
1 s1 light second300 000300 x 103
1 min1 light minute18 000 00018 x 106
1 h1 light hour1 080 000 0001.08 x 109
1 d1 light day25 920 000 00025.92 x 109
1 ly1 light year9 460 000 000 0009.46 x 1012


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