Parsecs to Lightyears Converter (pc to ly)
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Parsecs to Lightyears
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Convert Lightyears to Parsecs (ly to pc) ▶

Conversion Table

parsecs to lightyears
pcly
1 pc 3.2616 ly
2 pc 6.5233 ly
3 pc 9.7849 ly
4 pc 13.0465 ly
5 pc 16.3082 ly
6 pc 19.5698 ly
7 pc 22.8314 ly
8 pc 26.0931 ly
9 pc 29.3547 ly
10 pc 32.6163 ly
11 pc 35.878 ly
12 pc 39.1396 ly
13 pc 42.4012 ly
14 pc 45.6629 ly
15 pc 48.9245 ly
16 pc 52.1861 ly
17 pc 55.4478 ly
18 pc 58.7094 ly
19 pc 61.971 ly
20 pc 65.2327 ly

How to convert

1 parsec (pc) = 3.26163344 lightyear (ly). Parsec (pc) is a unit of Length used in Metric system. Lightyear (ly) is a unit of Length used in Metric system.

Parsec: A Unit of Length

A parsec is a unit of length that is often used in astronomy to measure the large distances to astronomical objects outside the Solar System. It is approximately equal to 3.26 light-years or 206,265 astronomical units (au), which are the average distances from the Earth to the Sun. One parsec is about 30.9 trillion kilometres or 19.2 trillion miles.

Definition of the parsec

The word parsec is a combination of “parallax” and “arcsecond”, which are terms related to the measurement of angles. Parallax is the apparent shift in position of an object when viewed from different perspectives. Arcsecond is a unit of angle that is equal to one sixtieth of an arcminute, or one three thousand six hundredth of a degree.

A parsec is defined as the distance at which one astronomical unit subtends an angle of one arcsecond. In other words, it is the distance from which the Earth-Sun distance would appear as one arcsecond on the sky. This can be illustrated by an imaginary right triangle, where the adjacent side is one au, the opposite side is one parsec, and the angle opposite to the parsec side is one arcsecond.

History of the parsec

The concept of the parsec was first proposed by the British astronomer Herbert Hall Turner in 1913, as a convenient unit for expressing stellar distances. He coined the term by blending “parallax” and “second”. He also suggested using the symbol “pc” for parsec.

The first measurement of a stellar parallax was made by Friedrich Bessel in 1838, for the star 61 Cygni. He found that the star had a parallax of 0.314 arcseconds, which corresponds to a distance of about 10.4 parsecs. Since then, many more stars have been measured for their parallaxes, using various methods such as telescopes, satellites and interferometers.

The parsec is now widely used in astronomy and astrophysics, especially for objects within and around the Milky Way galaxy. For more distant objects, such as galaxies and quasars, larger units such as kiloparsecs (kpc), megaparsecs (Mpc) and gigaparsecs (Gpc) are used.

How to convert parsec

To convert parsecs to other units of length, we can use the following conversion factors:

  • 1 pc = 3.0857 × 10^16 m
  • 1 pc = 1.9174 × 10^13 mi
  • 1 pc = 2.06265 × 10^5 au
  • 1 pc = 3.26156 ly

To convert other units of length to parsecs, we can use the inverse of these conversion factors:

  • 1 m = 3.24078 × 10^-17 pc
  • 1 mi = 5.21553 × 10^-14 pc
  • 1 au = 4.84814 × 10^-6 pc
  • 1 ly = 0.306601 pc

Where parsec is used

The parsec is mainly used in astronomy and astrophysics, as it is a convenient unit for expressing distances between stars and other celestial objects. For example:

  • The nearest star to the Sun, Proxima Centauri, is about 1.3 pc away.
  • The center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 8 kpc away.
  • The nearest galaxy to ours, Andromeda, is about 780 kpc away.
  • The most distant quasar known, ULAS J1342+0928, is about 8.8 Gpc away.

The parsec can also be used in other fields that deal with large distances or angles, such as geodesy, navigation and surveying.

Example conversions of parsec to other units

Here are some examples of converting parsecs to other units of length:

  • How many meters are in one parsec?

To convert one parsec to meters, we multiply by the conversion factor:

1 pc × 3.0857 × 10^16 m/pc = 3.0857 × 10^16 m

  • How many miles are in 10 parsecs?

To convert 10 parsecs to miles, we multiply by the conversion factor:

10 pc × 1.9174 × 10^13 mi/pc = 1.9174 × 10^14 mi

  • How many astronomical units are in 0.01 parsecs?

To convert 0.01 parsecs to astronomical units, we multiply by the conversion factor:

0.01 pc × 2.06265 × 10^5 au/pc = 2.06265 × 10^3 au

  • How many light-years are in 100 parsecs?

To convert 100 parsecs to light-years, we multiply by the conversion factor:

100 pc × 3.26156 ly/pc = 326.156 ly

  • How many parsecs are in one meter?

To convert one meter to parsecs, we divide by the conversion factor:

1 m / (3.0857 × 10^16 m/pc) = 3.24078 × 10^-17 pc

  • How many parsecs are in one mile?

To convert one mile to parsecs, we divide by the conversion factor:

1 mi / (1.9174 × 10^13 mi/pc) = 5.21553 × 10^-14 pc

  • How many parsecs are in one astronomical unit?

To convert one astronomical unit to parsecs, we divide by the conversion factor:

1 au / (2.06265 × 10^5 au/pc) = 4.84814 × 10^-6 pc

  • How many parsecs are in one light-year?

To convert one light-year to parsecs, we divide by the conversion factor:

1 ly / (3.26156 ly/pc) = 0.306601 pc

Lightyear: A Unit of Length

The lightyear is a large unit of length used to express astronomical distances and is equivalent to about 9.46 trillion kilometers (9.46 × 10^12 km), or 5.88 trillion miles (5.88 × 10^12 mi). As defined by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a lightyear is the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one Julian year (365.25 days). The lightyear is most often used when expressing distances to stars and other distances on a galactic scale, especially in non-specialist contexts and popular science publications.

In this article, we will explore the definition, history, usage and conversion of the lightyear as a unit of length.

Definition of the Lightyear

The lightyear is a unit of length that is equal to the product of the Julian year and the speed of light. The Julian year is a unit of time that is equal to 365.25 days or 31,557,600 seconds. The speed of light is a physical constant that is defined as 299,792,458 meters per second. The symbol for lightyear is ly.

The definition of the lightyear can be derived from the following formula:

1 ly = 1 Julian year × speed of light

1 ly = 31,557,600 s × 299,792,458 m/s

1 ly = 9,460,730,472,580,800 m

1 ly = 9.46 × 10^15 m

History of the Lightyear

The concept of the lightyear as a unit of distance was first proposed by the German astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel in 1838. He used it to estimate the distance to some nearby stars based on their parallax measurements. Parallax is the apparent shift in position of an object when viewed from different angles. Bessel calculated that the star 61 Cygni was about 10.3 lightyears away from Earth.

The term lightyear was popularized by the British astronomer James Bradley in his book Stellar Movements and the Structure of the Universe (1918). He used it to describe the distances to various stars and galaxies. He also introduced the term parsec as another unit of distance based on parallax.

The lightyear was officially recognized by the IAU in 1976 as part of its System of Astronomical Constants.

Usage of the Lightyear

The lightyear is a unit of length that is used for measuring astronomical distances that are too large to be expressed in other units such as kilometers or astronomical units (AU). An AU is equal to about 150 million kilometers or 93 million miles and is roughly the distance from Earth to the Sun.

The lightyear is commonly used in astronomy and cosmology to describe the distances to stars, galaxies, nebulae and other celestial objects. For example:

  • The nearest star to Earth (other than the Sun) is Proxima Centauri, which is about 4.2 lightyears away.
  • The center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 27,000 lightyears away from Earth.
  • The nearest large galaxy to ours, Andromeda, is about 2.5 million lightyears away.
  • The farthest galaxy ever observed by humans, GN-z11, is about 13.4 billion lightyears away.

The lightyear can also be used to measure time intervals in cosmology by relating them to distances traveled by light. For example:

  • The age of the universe is estimated to be about 13.8 billion years or about 13.8 billion lightyears.
  • The cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) is a remnant of the early universe that we can observe today. It was emitted when the universe was about 380,000 years old or about 46 billion lightyears away from us.
  • The observable universe is a sphere around us that contains all the objects that we can see with our current technology. It has a radius of about 46 billion lightyears.

Example Conversions of Lightyear to Other Units

The lightyear can be converted to other units of length by using different factors and formulas. Here are some examples of conversion for different types of units:

  • To convert a lightyear to kilometers, multiply by 9.46 × 10^12:

1 ly × 9.46 × 10^12 = 9.46 × 10^12 km

  • To convert a lightyear to miles, multiply by 5.88 × 10^12:

1 ly × 5.88 × 10^12 = 5.88 × 10^12 mi

  • To convert a lightyear to AU, multiply by 63,241:

1 ly × 63,241 = 63,241 AU

  • To convert a lightyear to parsecs, divide by 3.26:

1 ly / 3.26 = 0.31 pc

  • To convert a kilometer to lightyears, divide by 9.46 × 10^12:

1 km / 9.46 × 10^12 = 1.06 × 10^-13 ly

  • To convert a mile to lightyears, divide by 5.88 × 10^12:

1 mi / 5.88 × 10^12 = 1.70 × 10^-13 ly

  • To convert an AU to lightyears, divide by 63,241:

1 AU / 63,241 = 1.58 × 10^-5 ly

  • To convert a parsec to lightyears, multiply by 3.26:

1 pc × 3.26 = 3.26 ly



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