A star is type of astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other stars are visible to the naked eye from Earth during the night, appearing as a multitude of fixed luminous points in the sky due to their immense distance from Earth; the most prominent stars were grouped into constellations and asterisms, the brightest of which gained proper names. Astronomers have assembled star catalogues that identify the known stars and provide standardized stellar designations. However, most of the estimated 300 sextillion stars in the Universe are invisible to the naked eye from Earth, including all stars outside our galaxy, the Milky Way. For at least a portion of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and radiates into outer space. All occurring elements heavier than helium are created by stellar nucleosynthesis during the star's lifetime, for some stars by supernova nucleosynthesis when it explodes.
Near the end of its life, a star can contain degenerate matter. Astronomers can determine the mass, age and many other properties of a star by observing its motion through space, its luminosity, spectrum respectively; the total mass of a star is the main factor. Other characteristics of a star, including diameter and temperature, change over its life, while the star's environment affects its rotation and movement. A plot of the temperature of many stars against their luminosities produces a plot known as a Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. Plotting a particular star on that diagram allows the age and evolutionary state of that star to be determined. A star's life begins with the gravitational collapse of a gaseous nebula of material composed of hydrogen, along with helium and trace amounts of heavier elements; when the stellar core is sufficiently dense, hydrogen becomes converted into helium through nuclear fusion, releasing energy in the process. The remainder of the star's interior carries energy away from the core through a combination of radiative and convective heat transfer processes.
The star's internal pressure prevents it from collapsing further under its own gravity. A star with mass greater than 0.4 times the Sun's will expand to become a red giant when the hydrogen fuel in its core is exhausted. In some cases, it will fuse heavier elements in shells around the core; as the star expands it throws a part of its mass, enriched with those heavier elements, into the interstellar environment, to be recycled as new stars. Meanwhile, the core becomes a stellar remnant: a white dwarf, a neutron star, or if it is sufficiently massive a black hole. Binary and multi-star systems consist of two or more stars that are gravitationally bound and move around each other in stable orbits; when two such stars have a close orbit, their gravitational interaction can have a significant impact on their evolution. Stars can form part of a much larger gravitationally bound structure, such as a star cluster or a galaxy. Stars have been important to civilizations throughout the world, they have used for celestial navigation and orientation.
Many ancient astronomers believed that stars were permanently affixed to a heavenly sphere and that they were immutable. By convention, astronomers grouped stars into constellations and used them to track the motions of the planets and the inferred position of the Sun; the motion of the Sun against the background stars was used to create calendars, which could be used to regulate agricultural practices. The Gregorian calendar used nearly everywhere in the world, is a solar calendar based on the angle of the Earth's rotational axis relative to its local star, the Sun; the oldest dated star chart was the result of ancient Egyptian astronomy in 1534 BC. The earliest known star catalogues were compiled by the ancient Babylonian astronomers of Mesopotamia in the late 2nd millennium BC, during the Kassite Period; the first star catalogue in Greek astronomy was created by Aristillus in 300 BC, with the help of Timocharis. The star catalog of Hipparchus included 1020 stars, was used to assemble Ptolemy's star catalogue.
Hipparchus is known for the discovery of the first recorded nova. Many of the constellations and star names in use today derive from Greek astronomy. In spite of the apparent immutability of the heavens, Chinese astronomers were aware that new stars could appear. In 185 AD, they were the first to observe and write about a supernova, now known as the SN 185; the brightest stellar event in recorded history was the SN 1006 supernova, observed in 1006 and written about by the Egyptian astronomer Ali ibn Ridwan and several Chinese astronomers. The SN 1054 supernova, which gave birth to the Crab Nebula, was observed by Chinese and Islamic astronomers. Medieval Islamic astronomers gave Arabic names to many stars that are still used today and they invented numerous astronomical instruments that could compute the positions of the stars, they built the first large observatory research institutes for the purpose of producing Zij star catalogues. Among these, the Book of Fixed Stars was written by the Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi, who observed a number of stars, star clusters and galaxies.
According to A. Zahoor, in the 11th century, the Persian polymath scholar Abu Rayhan Biruni described the Milky
ArXiv is a repository of electronic preprints approved for posting after moderation, but not full peer review. It consists of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, astronomy, electrical engineering, computer science, quantitative biology, mathematical finance and economics, which can be accessed online. In many fields of mathematics and physics all scientific papers are self-archived on the arXiv repository. Begun on August 14, 1991, arXiv.org passed the half-million-article milestone on October 3, 2008, had hit a million by the end of 2014. By October 2016 the submission rate had grown to more than 10,000 per month. ArXiv was made possible by the compact TeX file format, which allowed scientific papers to be transmitted over the Internet and rendered client-side. Around 1990, Joanne Cohn began emailing physics preprints to colleagues as TeX files, but the number of papers being sent soon filled mailboxes to capacity. Paul Ginsparg recognized the need for central storage, in August 1991 he created a central repository mailbox stored at the Los Alamos National Laboratory which could be accessed from any computer.
Additional modes of access were soon added: FTP in 1991, Gopher in 1992, the World Wide Web in 1993. The term e-print was adopted to describe the articles, it began as a physics archive, called the LANL preprint archive, but soon expanded to include astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology and, most statistics. Its original domain name was xxx.lanl.gov. Due to LANL's lack of interest in the expanding technology, in 2001 Ginsparg changed institutions to Cornell University and changed the name of the repository to arXiv.org. It is now hosted principally with eight mirrors around the world, its existence was one of the precipitating factors that led to the current movement in scientific publishing known as open access. Mathematicians and scientists upload their papers to arXiv.org for worldwide access and sometimes for reviews before they are published in peer-reviewed journals. Ginsparg was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002 for his establishment of arXiv; the annual budget for arXiv is $826,000 for 2013 to 2017, funded jointly by Cornell University Library, the Simons Foundation and annual fee income from member institutions.
This model arose in 2010, when Cornell sought to broaden the financial funding of the project by asking institutions to make annual voluntary contributions based on the amount of download usage by each institution. Each member institution pledges a five-year funding commitment to support arXiv. Based on institutional usage ranking, the annual fees are set in four tiers from $1,000 to $4,400. Cornell's goal is to raise at least $504,000 per year through membership fees generated by 220 institutions. In September 2011, Cornell University Library took overall administrative and financial responsibility for arXiv's operation and development. Ginsparg was quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education as saying it "was supposed to be a three-hour tour, not a life sentence". However, Ginsparg remains on the arXiv Scientific Advisory Board and on the arXiv Physics Advisory Committee. Although arXiv is not peer reviewed, a collection of moderators for each area review the submissions; the lists of moderators for many sections of arXiv are publicly available, but moderators for most of the physics sections remain unlisted.
Additionally, an "endorsement" system was introduced in 2004 as part of an effort to ensure content is relevant and of interest to current research in the specified disciplines. Under the system, for categories that use it, an author must be endorsed by an established arXiv author before being allowed to submit papers to those categories. Endorsers are not asked to review the paper for errors, but to check whether the paper is appropriate for the intended subject area. New authors from recognized academic institutions receive automatic endorsement, which in practice means that they do not need to deal with the endorsement system at all. However, the endorsement system has attracted criticism for restricting scientific inquiry. A majority of the e-prints are submitted to journals for publication, but some work, including some influential papers, remain purely as e-prints and are never published in a peer-reviewed journal. A well-known example of the latter is an outline of a proof of Thurston's geometrization conjecture, including the Poincaré conjecture as a particular case, uploaded by Grigori Perelman in November 2002.
Perelman appears content to forgo the traditional peer-reviewed journal process, stating: "If anybody is interested in my way of solving the problem, it's all there – let them go and read about it". Despite this non-traditional method of publication, other mathematicians recognized this work by offering the Fields Medal and Clay Mathematics Millennium Prizes to Perelman, both of which he refused. Papers can be submitted in any of several formats, including LaTeX, PDF printed from a word processor other than TeX or LaTeX; the submission is rejected by the arXiv software if generating the final PDF file fails, if any image file is too large, or if the total size of the submission is too large. ArXiv now allows one to store and modify an incomplete submission, only finalize the submission when ready; the time stamp on the article is set. The standard access route is through one of several mirrors. Sev
Cosmic distance ladder
The cosmic distance ladder is the succession of methods by which astronomers determine the distances to celestial objects. A real direct distance measurement of an astronomical object is possible only for those objects that are "close enough" to Earth; the techniques for determining distances to more distant objects are all based on various measured correlations between methods that work at close distances and methods that work at larger distances. Several methods rely on a standard candle, an astronomical object that has a known luminosity; the ladder analogy arises because no single technique can measure distances at all ranges encountered in astronomy. Instead, one method can be used to measure nearby distances, a second can be used to measure nearby to intermediate distances, so on; each rung of the ladder provides information that can be used to determine the distances at the next higher rung. At the base of the ladder are fundamental distance measurements, in which distances are determined directly, with no physical assumptions about the nature of the object in question.
The precise measurement of stellar positions is part of the discipline of astrometry. Direct distance measurements are based upon the astronomical unit, the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Kepler's laws provide precise ratios of the sizes of the orbits of objects orbiting the Sun, but provides no measurement of the overall scale of the orbit system. Radar is used to measure the distance of a second body. From that measurement and the ratio of the two orbit sizes, the size of Earth's orbit is calculated; the Earth's orbit is known with an absolute precision of a few meters and a relative precision of a few 1×10−11. Observations of transits of Venus were crucial in determining the AU. Presently the orbit of Earth is determined with high precision using radar measurements of distances to Venus and other nearby planets and asteroids, by tracking interplanetary spacecraft in their orbits around the Sun through the Solar System; the most important fundamental distance measurements come from trigonometric parallax.
As the Earth orbits the Sun, the position of nearby stars will appear to shift against the more distant background. These shifts are angles in an isosceles triangle, with 2 AU making the base leg of the triangle and the distance to the star being the long equal length legs; the amount of shift is quite small, measuring 1 arcsecond for an object at 1 parsec's distance of the nearest stars, thereafter decreasing in angular amount as the distance increases. Astronomers express distances in units of parsecs; because parallax becomes smaller for a greater stellar distance, useful distances can be measured only for stars which are near enough to have a parallax larger than a few times the precision of the measurement. Parallax measurements have an accuracy measured in milliarcseconds. In the 1990s, for example, the Hipparcos mission obtained parallaxes for over a hundred thousand stars with a precision of about a milliarcsecond, providing useful distances for stars out to a few hundred parsecs; the Hubble telescope WFC3 now has the potential to provide a precision of 20 to 40 microarcseconds, enabling reliable distance measurements up to 5,000 parsecs for small numbers of stars.
In 2018, Data Release 2 from the Gaia space mission provides accurate distances to most stars brighter than 15th magnitude. Stars have a velocity relative to the Sun that causes radial velocity; the former is determined by plotting the changing position of the stars over many years, while the latter comes from measuring the Doppler shift of the star's spectrum caused by motion along the line of sight. For a group of stars with the same spectral class and a similar magnitude range, a mean parallax can be derived from statistical analysis of the proper motions relative to their radial velocities; this statistical parallax method is useful for measuring the distances of bright stars beyond 50 parsecs and giant variable stars, including Cepheids and the RR Lyrae variables. The motion of the Sun through space provides a longer baseline that will increase the accuracy of parallax measurements, known as secular parallax. For stars in the Milky Way disk, this corresponds to a mean baseline of 4 AU per year, while for halo stars the baseline is 40 AU per year.
After several decades, the baseline can be orders of magnitude greater than the Earth–Sun baseline used for traditional parallax. However, secular parallax introduces a higher level of uncertainty because the relative velocity of observed stars is an additional unknown; when applied to samples of multiple stars, the uncertainty can be reduced. Moving cluster parallax is a technique where the motions of individual stars in a nearby star cluster can be used to find the distance to the cluster. Only open clusters are near enough for this technique to be useful. In particular the distance obtained for the Hyades has been an important step in the distance ladder. Other individual objects can have fundamental distance estimates made for them under special circumstances. If the expansion of a gas cloud, like a supernova remnant or planetary nebula, can be observed over time an expansion parallax distance to that cloud can be estimated; those measurements however suf
The metre or meter is the base unit of length in the International System of Units. The SI unit symbol is m; the metre is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299 792 458 of a second. The metre was defined in 1793 as one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole – as a result the Earth's circumference is 40,000 km today. In 1799, it was redefined in terms of a prototype metre bar. In 1960, the metre was redefined in terms of a certain number of wavelengths of a certain emission line of krypton-86. In 1983, the current definition was adopted; the imperial inch is defined as 0.0254 metres. One metre is about 3 3⁄8 inches longer than a yard, i.e. about 39 3⁄8 inches. Metre is the standard spelling of the metric unit for length in nearly all English-speaking nations except the United States and the Philippines, which use meter. Other Germanic languages, such as German and the Scandinavian languages spell the word meter. Measuring devices are spelled "-meter" in all variants of English.
The suffix "-meter" has the same Greek origin as the unit of length. The etymological roots of metre can be traced to the Greek verb μετρέω and noun μέτρον, which were used for physical measurement, for poetic metre and by extension for moderation or avoiding extremism; this range of uses is found in Latin, French and other languages. The motto ΜΕΤΡΩ ΧΡΩ in the seal of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, a saying of the Greek statesman and philosopher Pittacus of Mytilene and may be translated as "Use measure!", thus calls for both measurement and moderation. In 1668 the English cleric and philosopher John Wilkins proposed in an essay a decimal-based unit of length, the universal measure or standard based on a pendulum with a two-second period; the use of the seconds pendulum to define length had been suggested to the Royal Society in 1660 by Christopher Wren. Christiaan Huygens had observed that length to be 39.26 English inches. No official action was taken regarding these suggestions.
In 1670 Gabriel Mouton, Bishop of Lyon suggested a universal length standard with decimal multiples and divisions, to be based on a one-minute angle of the Earth's meridian arc or on a pendulum with a two-second period. In 1675, the Italian scientist Tito Livio Burattini, in his work Misura Universale, used the phrase metro cattolico, derived from the Greek μέτρον καθολικόν, to denote the standard unit of length derived from a pendulum; as a result of the French Revolution, the French Academy of Sciences charged a commission with determining a single scale for all measures. On 7 October 1790 that commission advised the adoption of a decimal system, on 19 March 1791 advised the adoption of the term mètre, a basic unit of length, which they defined as equal to one ten-millionth of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator. In 1793, the French National Convention adopted the proposal. In 1791, the French Academy of Sciences selected the meridional definition over the pendular definition because the force of gravity varies over the surface of the Earth, which affects the period of a pendulum.
To establish a universally accepted foundation for the definition of the metre, more accurate measurements of this meridian were needed. The French Academy of Sciences commissioned an expedition led by Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre and Pierre Méchain, lasting from 1792 to 1799, which attempted to measure the distance between a belfry in Dunkerque and Montjuïc castle in Barcelona to estimate the length of the meridian arc through Dunkerque; this portion of the meridian, assumed to be the same length as the Paris meridian, was to serve as the basis for the length of the half meridian connecting the North Pole with the Equator. The problem with this approach is that the exact shape of the Earth is not a simple mathematical shape, such as a sphere or oblate spheroid, at the level of precision required for defining a standard of length; the irregular and particular shape of the Earth smoothed to sea level is represented by a mathematical model called a geoid, which means "Earth-shaped". Despite these issues, in 1793 France adopted this definition of the metre as its official unit of length based on provisional results from this expedition.
However, it was determined that the first prototype metre bar was short by about 200 micrometres because of miscalculation of the flattening of the Earth, making the prototype about 0.02% shorter than the original proposed definition of the metre. Regardless, this length became the French standard and was progressively adopted by other countries in Europe; the expedition was fictionalised in Le mètre du Monde. Ken Alder wrote factually about the expedition in The Measure of All Things: the seven year odyssey and hidden error that transformed the world. In 1867 at the second general conference of the International Association of Geodesy held in Berlin, the question of an international standard unit of length was discussed in order to combine the measurements made in different countries to determine the size and shape of the Earth; the conference recommended the adoption of the metre and the creation of an internatio
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is a spacecraft built by a European industrial consortium led by Matra Marconi Space, launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas II AS launch vehicle on December 2, 1995 to study the Sun. SOHO has discovered over 3,000 comets, it began normal operations in May 1996. It is a joint project of international cooperation between the European Space Agency and NASA. Planned as a two-year mission, SOHO continues to operate after over 20 years in space: the mission is extended until the end of 2020 with a extension until 2022. In addition to its scientific mission, it is the main source of near-real-time solar data for space weather prediction. Along with the GGS Wind, Advanced Composition Explorer and DSCOVR, SOHO is one of four spacecraft in the vicinity of the Earth–Sun L1 point, a point of gravitational balance located 0.99 astronomical unit s from the Sun and 0.01 AU from the Earth. In addition to its scientific contributions, SOHO is distinguished by being the first three-axis-stabilized spacecraft to use its reaction wheels as a kind of virtual gyroscope.
The three main scientific objectives of SOHO are: Investigation of the outer layer of the Sun, which consists of the chromosphere, transition region, the corona. CDS, EIT, LASCO, SUMER, SWAN, UVCS are used for this solar atmosphere remote sensing. Making observations of solar wind and associated phenomena in the vicinity of L1. CELIAS and CEPAC are used for "in situ" solar wind observations. Probing the interior structure of the Sun. GOLF, MDI, VIRGO are used for helioseismology; the SOHO spacecraft is in a halo orbit around the Sun–Earth L1 point, the point between the Earth and the Sun where the balance of the Sun's gravity and the Earth's gravity is equal to the centripetal force needed for an object to have the same orbital period in its orbit around the Sun as the Earth, with the result that the object will stay in that relative position. Although sometimes described as being at L1, the SOHO spacecraft is not at L1 as this would make communication difficult due to radio interference generated by the Sun, because this would not be a stable orbit.
Rather it lies in the plane which passes through L1 and is perpendicular to the line connecting the Sun and the Earth. It stays in this plane, tracing out an elliptical lissajous orbit centered about L1, it orbits L1 once every six months, while L1 itself orbits the Sun every 12 months as it is coupled with the motion of the Earth. This keeps SOHO at a good position for communication with Earth at all times. In normal operation the spacecraft transmits a continuous 200 kbit/s data stream of photographs and other measurements via the NASA Deep Space Network of ground stations. SOHO's data about solar activity are used to predict coronal mass ejection arrival times at earth, so electrical grids and satellites can be protected from their damaging effects. CMEs directed toward the earth may produce geomagnetic storms, which in turn produce geomagnetically induced currents, in the most extreme cases creating black-outs, etc. In 2003 ESA reported the failure of the antenna Y-axis stepper motor, necessary for pointing the high-gain antenna and allowing the downlink of high-rate data.
At the time, it was thought that the antenna anomaly might cause two- to three-week data-blackouts every three months. However, ESA and NASA engineers managed to use SOHO's low-gain antennas together with the larger 34 and 70 meter DSN ground stations and judicious use of SOHO's Solid State Recorder to prevent total data loss, with only a reduced data flow every three months; the SOHO Mission Interruption sequence of events began on June 24, 1998, while the SOHO Team was conducting a series of spacecraft gyroscope calibrations and maneuvers. Operations proceeded until 23:16 UTC when SOHO lost lock on the Sun, entered an emergency attitude control mode called Emergency Sun Reacquisition; the SOHO Team attempted to recover the observatory, but SOHO entered the emergency mode again on June 25 02:35 UTC. Recovery efforts continued, but SOHO entered the emergency mode for the last time at 04:38 UTC. All contact with SOHO was lost at 4:43 UTC, the mission interruption had begun. SOHO was spinning, losing electrical power, no longer pointing at the Sun.
Expert ESA personnel were dispatched from Europe to the United States to direct operations. Days passed without contact from SOHO. On July 23, the Arecibo Observatory and Goldstone Solar System Radar combined to locate SOHO with radar, to determine its location and attitude. SOHO was close to its predicted position, oriented with its side versus the usual front Optical Surface Reflector panel pointing toward the Sun, was rotating at one revolutions every 53 seconds. Once SOHO was located, plans for contacting SOHO were formed. On August 3 a carrier was detected from SOHO, the first signal since June 25. After days of charging the battery, a successful attempt was made to modulate the carrier and downlink telemetry on August 8. After instrument temperatures were downlinked on August 9, data analysis was performed, planning for the SOHO recovery began in earnest; the Recovery Team began by allocating the limited electrical power. After this, SOHO's anomalous orientation in space was determined. Thawing the frozen hydrazine fuel tank using SOHO's thermal control heaters began on August 12.
Thawing pipes and the thrusters was next, SOHO was re-oriented towards the Sun on September 16. After nearly a week of spacecraft bus recovery activities and an orbital correction maneuver, the SOHO spacecraft returned to normal mode on Sept
The photosphere is a star's outer shell from which light is radiated. The term itself is derived from Ancient Greek roots, φῶς, φωτός/phos, photos meaning "light" and σφαῖρα/sphaira meaning "sphere", in reference to it being a spherical surface, perceived to emit light, it extends into a star's surface until the plasma becomes opaque, equivalent to an optical depth of 2/3, or equivalently, a depth from which 50% of light will escape without being scattered. In other words, a photosphere is the deepest region of a luminous object a star, transparent to photons of certain wavelengths; the surface of a star is defined to have a temperature given by the effective temperature in the Stefan–Boltzmann law. Stars, except neutron stars, have no liquid surface. Therefore, the photosphere is used to describe the Sun's or another star's visual surface; the Sun is composed of the chemical elements hydrogen and helium. All heavier elements, called metals in astronomy, account for less than 2% of the mass, with oxygen, carbon and iron being the most abundant.
The Sun's photosphere has a temperature between 4,500 and 6,000 K and a density somewhere around 1×10−3 to 1×10−6 kg/m3. The Sun's photosphere is around 100 kilometers thick, is composed of convection cells called granules—cells of plasma each 1000 kilometers in diameter with hot rising plasma in the center and cooler plasma falling in the narrow spaces between them, flowing at velocities of 7 kilometer per second; each granule has a lifespan of only about twenty minutes, resulting in a continually shifting "boiling" pattern. Grouping the typical granules are super granules up to 30,000 kilometers in diameter with lifespans of up to 24 hours and flow speeds of about 500 meter per second, carrying magnetic field bundles to the edges of the cells. Other magnetically-related phenomena include sunspots and solar faculae dispersed between the granules; these details are too fine to be seen. The Sun's visible atmosphere has other layers above the photosphere: the 2,000 kilometer-deep chromosphere lies just between the photosphere and the much hotter but more tenuous corona.
Other "surface features" on the photosphere are solar sunspots. Animated explanation of the Photosphere. Animated explanation of the temperature of the Photosphere. Solar Lower Atmosphere and Magnetism
Unit of length
A unit of length refers to any discrete, pre-established length or distance having a constant magnitude, used as a reference or convention to express linear dimension. The most common units in modern use are U. S. customary units in the United States and metric units elsewhere. British Imperial units are still used for some purposes in the United Kingdom and some other countries; the metric system is sub-divided into non-SI units. The base unit in the International System of Units is the metre, defined as "the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1⁄299792458 seconds." It is equal to 1.0936 yd. Other units are derived from the metre by adding prefixes from the table below: For example, a kilometre is 1000 m. In the Centimetre–gram–second system of units, the basic unit of length is the centimetre, or 1⁄100 of a metre. Other non-SI units are derived from decimal multiples of the metre; the basic unit of length in the Imperial and U. S. customary systems is the yard, defined as 0.9144 m by international treaty in 1959.
Common Imperial units and U. S. customary units of length include: thou or mil line inch foot yard mile 5,280 feet league 3 miles In addition, the following are used by sailors: fathom nautical mile Aviators use feet for altitude worldwide and nautical miles for distance. Surveyors in the United States continue to use: chain rod Astronomical measure uses: Earth radius R⊕ ≈ 6,371 km Lunar distance LD ≈ 384402 km. Average distance between the center of Earth and the center of the Moon. Astronomical unit au. Defined as 149597870700 m; the distance between the Earth and Sun. Light-year ly ≈ 9460730472580.8 km. The distance that light travels in a vacuum in one Julian year. Parsec pc ≈ 30856775814671.9 km or about 3.26156 ly Hubble length 14.4 billion light-years or 4.55 gigaparsecs In atomic physics, sub-atomic physics, cosmology, the preferred unit of length is related to a chosen fundamental physical constant, or combination thereof. This is a characteristic radius or wavelength of a particle; some common natural units of length are included in this table: Archaic units of distance include: cana cubit rope league li pace verst In everyday conversation, in informal literature, it is common to see lengths measured in units of objects of which everyone knows the approximate width.
Common examples are: Double-decker bus Football field Thickness of a human hair Horse racing and other equestrian activities keep alive: furlong ≈ 0.125 miles horse length ≈ 8 feet List of examples of lengths List of unusual units of measurement § Length Medieval weights and measures Orders of magnitude System of measurement Units of measurement Whitelaw, Ian. A Measure of All Things: The Story of Man and Measurement. Macmillan. ISBN 9780312370268