Friday, November 03, 2006


Most mornings, on the way to work, I listen to NPR. And I'd like to think that, most mornings, I miss the segment called "StarDate" because it airs at 8:06 and I am at work by 8. However, this morning I was running a little late and I heard it. This morning's show was about the light-year and it was so interesting that I thought I would share part of it with you:

There's an easy way to visualize the light-year. If you shrank the galaxy so that the distance from the Sun to Earth were just one inch, then a light-year would be almost exactly one mile.

But the nearest star system to the Sun -- Alpha Centauri -- is more than four light-years away. To picture that distance, imagine a giant map on which Earth is one inch from the Sun. The most remote planet in the solar system, Neptune, would be about 30 inches away. But Alpha Centauri would be more than four miles away -- a reminder of the vast gulf that separates us from even our closest stellar neighbors.

If you want to read/listen to the whole thing, go to

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