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Answers for students: What is a light year?

22 Oct 2017, 22:13 UTC
Answers for students: What is a light year?
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Above: A nebula. The smallest part of this picture you can see in this picture is thousands of times bigger than our whole world - so normal measurements of distance just don't work. Unless you're a linguistic masochist who likes having to saying "billion trillion trillion trillion quadrillion" after everything.This one comes up a lot - It comes up in exam questions, and everyone seems to stumble over it: What are these 'light years' that keep being mentioned by astronomers and sci-fi shows? Do you have to eat less calories, or keep at least one house light on nonstop for 365 days to make them?And the answer is: No. I eat however many calories I like (to be fair I'm starting to get a bit fat and have to go for runs) and I leave all the lights on in my house all the time anyway.I'm not scared of the dark. I never admitted to that. AhemAnyway...A light year is NOT a measure of time. Yes, I know it has the word 'year' in it's name. Yes, that's a pretty dumb and confusing thing to name a measure of distance. No, I can't do anything about it.The important bit is ...

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