Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 1 decade ago

what is the distance, in light years, across our solar system?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I like this question there is some maths envolved in this.

    firstly we need to define the actual distance of the solar system. there are different views on this however I'm going to pick two of them.

    1/ the average distance of the nine planet Pluto (there has been new planetoids found in the last few years however to keep things tidy i will exclude them) has been general accepted as the radius of the solar system by many people including myself for years. this distance is 40 AU (AU=astronomical unit = the average distance from the eath to the sun = 93000000miles)

    2/ The point at which the solar wind meets the interstellar medium, which is the "solar" wind from other stars, is called the heliopause. It is a boundary theorised to be roughly circular or teardrop-shaped, marking the edge of the Sun's influence perhaps 100 AU from the Sun. The space within the boundary of the heliopause, containing the Sun and solar system, is referred to as the heliosphere.

    summary the Heliopause is the theorised edge of the solar system

    now we have two figures to chose from 40AU and 100AU, these figures are radii of the solar system but you used the words 'across the solar system' denoting diameter so we multiply the two figure by 2 = 80AU and 200AU repectively

    next we need the distance of how far light travels through a vacuum in one year in miles = 5900000000000 miles

    ds = distance of solar system diameter

    dl = distance of one light year

    equation dl/ds = number of lightyears

    1/ NINE PLANETS

    ds = 80AU = 80 x 93000000 =7440000000

    dl = 5900000000000

    7440000000 / 5900000000000 = 0.00126 or 0.0013 lightyear

    answer = 0.0013 lightyear

    2/ HELIOPAUSE

    ds = 200AU = 200 x 93000000 = 18600000000

    dl = 5900000000000

    18600000000 / 5900000000000 = 0.003153 or 0.0032 lightyear

    answer = 0.0032 lightyear

    summary:

    the solar system is a very small fraction of a lightyear

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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    About 200 AU. This is just a loose approximation or best guess. Even the definition of where the Heliopause is is uncertain (check the wikipedia article on it). The Voyager craft have crossed a few boundaries on the way, hitting the Termination shock and entered the Heliosheath (before the heliopause) at about 85-95 AU (in radius, double for diameter) It takes light about 8 minutes to travel 1 AU (from the Sun to Earth), so multiply 8 minutes by 200 and you'll have the tiny fraction of a light-year that the Solar System is across.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It is better to measure it in light minutes or hours (and more precise at such small distances - since the length of a year varies, while the legth of an hour or a minute is precise). It is around 93 AU (astronomical units - average distance between Earth and Sun). And 1 AU=8.317 light minutes. Which means that the Solar System is 12 hours and 53,5 minutes across, which is around 0.0015 light year.

    Source - various articles on wikipedia.

    A.

    Source(s): www.wikipedia.com
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  • 1 decade ago

    If one considers the heliopause to be the boundary of the solar system (this is beyond all the planets) then this is 60 to 100 AU from the sun radius. If you want to consider the Oort cloud, the theoretically, this can be as much as 100 000 AU.

    One AU is the average distance from Earth to the Sun, about 8.3 light minutes. The heliopause would then give a diameter of between 0.00189 and 0.00316 light year, and if you use the (still unproven) Oort cloud, then it could be up to 3.15 light year. Such a radius of 1.5 light year is nearly 1/3 of the way to the nearest star.

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  • 1 decade ago

    First, how far or how big is the solar system. I mean, does it include Pluto? Or there is 13th planet which we included into the family member of solar system. Since there is no an exact distance of star system, we can't calculated accurately but I predicted that it won't used a light year across solar system.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The distance from the Sun to Earth is roughly 93 million miles. As Sir Benny states it takes roughly 8 minutes for Light to travel that distance.

    Therefore, what is the furthest point from the Sun to the edge of the Solar System?

    Logon to - www.bbc.co.uk/science/space -

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    The solar system itself is around 1.2 light years wide on the average. In AU, this is a huge number (one AU are only about 8.5 lightminutes): 75888 AU The heliopause, on the other hand, is only about 200 AU across. Lot's of stuff, which is still orbiting the sun (The Oort cloud) is outside the heliopause.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It is less than one light year.A light year is the amount of time it takes light to travel a distance,it takes 8 minutes for the light from the sun to reach the earth so its safe to say it is less than a light year for the solar system.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    To the outside rim of the Oort Cloud it is just under a light year in diameter. The Oort Cloud defines the outermost edge of a solar system, containing comets and the remains of the nebula material that formed the planets.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The orbit of Neptune has a semi-major axis of 4,498,252,900 kilometers or 0.00048 lightyear. The Kuiper Belt extends from the orbit of Neptune to 7,500,000,000 kilometers or 0.0008 lightyear from the Sun. The Scattered Disc extends to 22,500,000,000 kilometers or 0.0024 light year from the Sun. Thus, our Solar System is approximately 45,000,000,000 kilometers or 0.0048 light year in diameter

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