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Astronomers Fix the Astronomical Unit

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the and-changed-the-oil dept.

Earth 182

gbrumfiel writes "The Astronomical Unit (AU) is known to most as the distance between the Earth and the Sun. In fact, the official definition was a much more complex mathematical calculation involving angular measurements, hypothetical bodies, and the Sun's mass. That old definition created problems: due to general relativity, the length of the AU changed depending on an observer's position in the solar system. And the mass of the Sun changes over time, so the AU was changing as well. At the International Astronomical Union's latest meeting, astronomers unanimously voted on a new simplified definition: exactly 149,597,870,700 meters. Nobody need panic, the earth's distance from the sun remains just as it was, regardless of whether it's in AUs, meters, or smoots."

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As everyone knows... (-1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#41336831)

The Astronomical Unit is the distence between Taco's anus and ball sack.

It's a FACT, folks...

They should mesure it in miles. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41336891)

How many miles is that?

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (2)

EGSonikku (519478) | about 2 years ago | (#41337237)

Why should they "mesure" it in miles? Metric is standard.

But to answer your question:

92,955,807.3 miles

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41337387)

92,955,807.3 miles

Your answer is SOO 8 minutes ago...

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 2 years ago | (#41337767)

* Golf Clap *

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337519)

Metric is standard

Which metric? MKS, MTS, CGS? They all are now defined in terms of SI units just as much as miles... just not as nice as a conversion.

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337685)

'Kilogram' isn't a base unit, and neither is 'centimeter'; if it's metric, it should be MGS -- meter/gram/second. It's not our fault the French picked a mass unit that was orders of magnitude out of scale with the dimension unit they picked. Or there's always the FDJ scale -- fermi/dalton/jiffy -- for all the people working with subatomic particles...

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337915)

'Kilogram' isn't a base unit, and neither is 'centimeter'; if it's metric, it should be MGS -- meter/gram/second. It's not our fault the French picked a mass unit that was orders of magnitude out of scale with the dimension unit they picked. Or there's always the FDJ scale -- fermi/dalton/jiffy -- for all the people working with subatomic particles...

How can mass units be "orders of magnitude out of scale" with dimensional units?

That's not even an apples-to-oranges comparison - at least those would both be fruits. Comparing mass and distance is literally nonsensical. What? Are you 3 kg away from me?

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338229)

e.g. a meter long rod/stick with diameter that fits in an average hand grip weighs ~1kg (within an order of magnitude). It's a more "human-sized", for lack of a better term, unit.

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

squidflakes (905524) | about 2 years ago | (#41338471)

If you're talking about gravitic attraction between two bodies, you *could* be 3 kg of attraction away from something.

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 2 years ago | (#41338227)

You haven't heard of Metric prefixes [wikipedia.org] ?

Those *are* SI units with standard prefixes.

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

tom17 (659054) | about 2 years ago | (#41337259)

92,955,807.273

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | about 2 years ago | (#41338135)

Cool, what is it in furlongs per fortnight?

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338293)

Don't mix speed and distance.

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

moj0joj0 (1119977) | about 2 years ago | (#41337933)

Here, just for you [lmgtfy.com] :)

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

squidflakes (905524) | about 2 years ago | (#41338435)

Miles? Pffft, I want to know the distance in smoots!

Re:They should mesure it in miles. (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about 2 years ago | (#41338627)

>units '1 au' smoot
* 8.7905671e+10
/ 1.137583e-11

...yet perhaps good ol' "units" has yet to update to this shiny new definition of an AU.

let's not waste significant digits! (4, Funny)

markhahn (122033) | about 2 years ago | (#41336921)

you'd think they could have rounded up to 150 gigameters.
if politicians can be SD-conservative, why can't astronomers? we all know that significance is precious and rare...

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41336993)

if politicians can be SD-conservative, why can't astronomers? we all know that significance is precious and rare...

It was decided by committee. I'm sure it was a compromise of several possible values, with concessions on each side, a few attempts to filibuster it until Pluto was given recognition again, etc. No, I'm not trying to be funny.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (2)

jdray (645332) | about 2 years ago | (#41338045)

I'm sure it was a compromise of several possible values, with concessions on each side, a few attempts to filibuster it until Pluto was given recognition again, etc. No, I'm not trying to be funny.

Well, you succeeded anyway.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338291)

I almost choked on my German salami :D

On a serious note I think the reason why they didn't rounded it up is the possibility of interstellar travel. At such distances rounding up or down your course by even a 1000 meters will put you miles away from your destination (actually, more like millions upon millions of miles away). So if you want to get back to Earth from Alpha Centauri you just point your compass at the Sun, take precisely 1AU off your course, and voilà - you're roughly on Earth's orbit. Convenient! That's my theory anyway...

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (2)

cp5i6 (544080) | about 2 years ago | (#41336995)

If they're goint o pick an arbitrary number, why even make it so complicated.

they should just say 1 AU = 42 and be done with it.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | about 2 years ago | (#41338095)

1 AU = 42

Has anyone here noticed that? Why, when someone picks a random number, 12 and 42 come out so often? Has there been some research done on that?

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#41338171)

Has there been some research done on that?

They looked it up in the Encyclopedia Galactica.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (4, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41338301)

1 AU = 42

Has anyone here noticed that? Why, when someone picks a random number, 12 and 42 come out so often? Has there been some research done on that?

I wouldn't panic about it.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

Gripp (1969738) | about 2 years ago | (#41338321)

42 has geeky significance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy#The_Hitchhiker.27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy). That is why you see it here a lot. as for 12... i dunno.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 2 years ago | (#41338323)

There are researches [scienceblogs.com] on that. This is the simplest one I can find, you your google-fu to find more.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41336999)

Most of the time, 150 gigameters will probably be close enough, similar as to how 300,000 km/s is "close enough" to the speed of light for many things or 3.1415 is "close enough" to pi for many things.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41337537)

Most of the time, 150 gigameters will probably be close enough, similar as to how 300,000 km/s is "close enough" to the speed of light for many things or 3.1415 is "close enough" to pi for many things.

Well the speed of light can be measured fairly precisely and Pi is available to just about any random number of digits you want.
You are free to choose the level of precision that fits the problem at hand.

The distance to the sun, on the other hand, was always imprecise, and constantly changing. It depended on when you measured it.
Apparently this drift in the AU constant started to matter in some calculations, and perhaps threatened interpretation of historical references and calculations.

The difference of using 150 gigameters is OVER one light-second (402129 km), so there would have had to be a significant rewriting of historical research and measurements. Not an insurmountable problem, just a messy one.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338169)

I would question the research of any scientist who willingly used a unit of measurement that, even at the moment of its conception, would have a volatile conversion to solid units.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41338267)

I would question the research of any scientist who willingly used a unit of measurement that, even at the moment of its conception, would have a volatile conversion to solid units.

So, you relegate the entire field of Astronomy to the fate of Astrology then Mr. AC?

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (2)

doshell (757915) | about 2 years ago | (#41338339)

Well the speed of light can be measured fairly precisely

Actually, the speed of light is not the result of a measurement, because the meter is defined in terms of the speed of light. The speed of light, by definition, is always 299,792,458 metres per second [wikipedia.org] .

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337631)

Blasphemer!
Pi == 3

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

FitForTheSun (2651243) | about 2 years ago | (#41337159)

The difference is a quarter-million miles. Science is more precise than that when it is able to be.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (2)

Tobenisstinky (853306) | about 2 years ago | (#41337315)

Yes, but it is 'a quarter-million miles' difference between two arbitrary values. So why not make it a nice round number?

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41337487)

If you are constantly somewhere between 2.328 and 2.347 feet from me, I'm not going to define the distance between us as 2.000 feet simply because "it's a nice round number."

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

atrain728 (1835698) | about 2 years ago | (#41337829)

A more appropriate comparison: If you are constantly somewhere between 2.02797643 and 1.96131053 feet from me, I'm not going to give other distances of relative scale, in terms of our distance, as 2.00000000 feet simply because "it's a nice round number."

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (4, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41338115)

You're missing my point. 150GM wasn't "between" the old measurements. It was just kinda-somewhere-near them.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (4, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#41338097)

If you are constantly somewhere between 2.328 and 2.347 feet from me, I'm not going to define the distance between us as 2.000 feet simply because "it's a nice round number."

Agreed; I'd define that distance as "all up in my grill," and I'd define that trajectory as "cruisin' for a bruisin'."

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

jdray (645332) | about 2 years ago | (#41338117)

We could have just waited until the time was right and the Earth was 150 gigameters from the sun, then declared the value. That is, presuming that the variance in the distance ever achieved 150 GM...

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#41337231)

Or rounded down to 137,438,953,472 meters - 2^37 meters.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#41337329)

you'd think they could have rounded up to 150 gigameters.
if politicians can be SD-conservative, why can't astronomers? we all know that significance is precious and rare...

Interesting point.
If you are going to pic arbitrary number, why not pick an easy one?

I suspect there is a desire to keep all past references to AU meaningful within a small margin of error, so as to not have to translate any written works.
The difference between the new arbitrary number and the prior imprecise one is probably infinitesimally small for the scale of reference AUs are use for.

Rounding it up almost half a million kilometers (quarter million miles) maybe not so much.

I suspect that since it was imprecise in the first place, and used for almost nothing except astronomical reference, preserving existing references in the literature was more important than the ease of writing it down.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (5, Informative)

hde226868 (906048) | about 2 years ago | (#41337435)

This is correct. originally the AU was defined as the average distance between the Earth and the Sun. The problem then was to convert this distance to meters. The way to do this conversion in the end involves the product of the mass of the Sun and the Gravitational constant G. Both quantities are not well known (e.g., G is known to 4 or 5 digits only). But their product can be determined from modeling the motions in the Solar system to much higher precision. So by that time the AU was then redefined by defining the product GM (often called k^2, where k is called the "Gaussian gravitational constant"). It is my understanding that this has now been simplified. The difference between both is only a few meters.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337381)

Or we could just re-define meter as AU times 1/150,000,000,000. Or start using a new metric, AU-meters.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (2)

FishOuttaWater (1163787) | about 2 years ago | (#41337749)

You'd think we would at least use gm instead of million km. What's with the bizarre preference for km for long distances? (Not just here, but darned near everywhere.)

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (1)

doshell (757915) | about 2 years ago | (#41338413)

It becomes particularly not-so-funny when you have to constantly make the distinction between American and European billions (as is the case e.g. with money). If everyone agreed on using the giga and tera prefixes, that would never be a problem.

Re:let's not waste significant digits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338457)

Gm

No, panic. (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41336933)

Nobody need panic, the earth's distance from the sun remains just as it was, regardless of whether it's in AUs, meters, or smoots."

I'm more concerned about the fact that the distance changes depending on where we are. That means that the Earth is moving, and I don't believe in that. It's more heliocentric non-sense by the astronomical community. What next; astronomical bodies that aren't perfectly spherical? The madness of the commoners, I tell you.

Re:No, panic. (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41337263)

Relax, would you? The equant [wikipedia.org] lets it all fit back together nicely. Ptolemy's Standard Model still fits the data; there's no need to bring pseudoscience like heliocentricity into this.

Re:No, panic. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41338657)

Relax, would you? The equant lets it all fit back together nicely. Ptolemy's Standard Model still fits the data; there's no need to bring pseudoscience like heliocentricity into this.

You are further proof that astronomers have absolutely no sense of humor.

Re:No, panic. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337301)

Eppur si muove

Mass of Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41336955)

What does the mass of the Sun have to do with the distance between the Sun and Earth?

Good grief! I'm having flashbacks to the lectures about units from my physics teacher!

Re:Mass of Sun (0)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about 2 years ago | (#41337005)

Relativity. Large masses bend space. I guess you never heard about that?

Re:Mass of Sun (1)

saveferrousoxide (2566033) | about 2 years ago | (#41337143)

No need for snarkiness Dr. Your last sentence was wholly unnecessary. For all you know the AC's a 6th grader still learning the ins and outs of Newtonian physics. Or maybe it's someone with a PhD in something you know nothing about.

Re:Mass of Sun (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41337247)

Dr. Tom's sense of self-importance is bending space around him. Be careful you don't get sucked in. Once you cross the ego's event horizon, not even snarkiness can escape.

Re:Mass of Sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337167)

My balls cause gravitational lensing.

Re:Mass of Sun (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41337397)

What does the mass of the Sun have to do with the distance between the Sun and Earth?

Good grief! I'm having flashbacks to the lectures about units from my physics teacher!

The more massive a body, the stronger the gravity. The stronger the gravitational field, the closer Earth will end up to the Sun for a given speed (the Earth's speed in this case being more or less a constant. I'm simplifying since the Earth speeds up and slows down as it orbits, but the point is still the same). Likewise, with less mass the Earth will end up farther away.

Also relativistic effects, but those are (probably) a lot less pronounced.

Re:Mass of Sun (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 2 years ago | (#41337995)

Forward takes you out, out takes you back, back takes you in, in takes you forward.

Distance remains the same? (3, Informative)

wierzpio (570121) | about 2 years ago | (#41336991)

Since the Earth's orbit around the Sun is eliptical it's _never_ the same, is it?

Re:Distance remains the same? (5, Funny)

mblase (200735) | about 2 years ago | (#41337035)

Since the Earth's orbit around the Sun is eliptical it's _never_ the same, is it?

Even an elliptical orbit is right twice a year.

Re:Distance remains the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337137)

Even an elliptical orbit is right twice a year.

Around here, we call them equinoxes.

Re:Distance remains the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337261)

Even an elliptical orbit is right twice a year.

Around here, we call them equinoxes.

Equinoxes has to do with the direction the earths poles point in relation to the sun, not the location on the ellipse. I don't want to do the math but with keplers laws i don't think the two points of average distance from the sun would be equally spaced in the year.

Re:Distance remains the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337349)

I think it's a right angle joke, not a right (mean) distance joke.

Re:Distance remains the same? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#41337155)

Assuming the sun as at the center of the ellipse - which I believe it isn't in this case. So it's right roughly once a year.

Re:Distance remains the same? (1)

jstave (734089) | about 2 years ago | (#41337389)

Assuming the sun as at the center of the ellipse - which I believe it isn't in this case. So it's right roughly once a year.

Actually, depending on how big the ellipse is compared with the circle with a 1 AU radius, it could be right from 0 times (circle way too big, or way too small), to as many as 4. Play around with an ellipse and a circle centered at one focus and you'll see what I mean. As the relative sizes change, the number of times it's right changes too. Thank god we got *that* straightened out.

Re:Distance remains the same? (2)

immaterial (1520413) | about 2 years ago | (#41337563)

It couldn't be zero (circle way to big/small) if 1 AU is based on the average distance. But you're right that it could be 4 (or 3!) in addition to 2.

Re:Distance remains the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338641)

Thank god we got *that* straightened out.

No need to thank god for that. God put us on the wrong track by suggesting us the earth was the center of the universe and the sun is orbiting it, and we needed a lot of scientific proof before the writings of god about this were discarded as incorrect.

Re:Distance remains the same? (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41337605)

The center is actually the center of mass for the Earth-Sun. Actually, I believe it's the center of mass for the whole solar system, but if we treat it as a 2-body problem it's just the Earth-Sun. If only the Earth was affecting the Sun with it's gravity, the distance would be right twice a year (assuming the major or minor axis) or 4 times (if you use some other axis), since the Sun would be traveling in an ellipse identical to the Earth's but proportionately smaller, so it would be on the fall on the axis at the same time as the Earth would every single year.

In reality the Sun is also moved by the other planets, so the distance will never be correct, since it isn't moving on a pure ellipse at all. Also the Earth isn't either. That's why we use the average distance over a few years, since that will always be the average. Except for the fact that the Sun is losing mass, and therefore gravity, so Earth gets further away every year, so the average is itself changing.

Re:Distance remains the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337215)

Unless min or max is used.

Re:Distance remains the same? (2)

morningstar8 (234758) | about 2 years ago | (#41337367)

Unless it's a min or a max, it's right four times a year!

Re:Distance remains the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337049)

It is now. This committee just decided Earth's orbit is a perfect circle

Re:Distance remains the same? (1)

Marc Madness (2205586) | about 2 years ago | (#41337109)

The Astronomical Unit (AU) is known to most as the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun

The summary omitted the word "mean". The linked article has the correct description.

Re:Distance remains the same? (0)

pigiron (104729) | about 2 years ago | (#41337413)

Typical Slashdot sloppiness. But what else can you expect. Slashdot headline writers are a bunch of pig ignorant programmers (at best) not scientists.

Re:Distance remains the same? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | about 2 years ago | (#41337817)

The semi-major axis is usually called the "distance" because it's equal to the averaged mean distance between the planet and the foci (one of which is the sun). Though that depends what you average over. I think if you average over time it's approximately equal if eccentricity is small.

The new AU ... (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41337055)

... will be established by machining a bar of pure platinum to a length of exactly 1 AU. It will be stored in a vault in Paris.

Re:The new AU ... (3, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41337199)

But they won't be able to shut the door unless the bar is moving at relativistic speeds.

Re:The new AU ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337583)

If it were moving at relativistic speeds they wouldn't shut the doors in time, because everyone would be too busy trying to remember that relativity question from freshman physics. In the time it takes questioning why freshman relativity problems always involved barn doors, and if said barn door principles apply to vault doors, relativistic speeds cover quite a bit of ground.

Re:The new AU ... (4, Funny)

jmv (93421) | about 2 years ago | (#41337211)

Apparently they decided to define it by sticking a large rock in orbit around the sun.

Re:The new AU ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337463)

Ah, they will tar-gzip it, and because of its uniformity, it will fit in a very tiny vault.

Eve nav problems (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337067)

Great, everyone in Eve is going to be missing jump gates, plowing through asteroid fields at warp. Going to be chaos.

Re:Eve nav problems (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41337681)

But without these precise calculations, you could fly right through a star, or bounce too close to a supernova! That'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?

Oh great . . . (1)

Traciatim (1856872) | about 2 years ago | (#41337197)

Can someone come up with some sort of foot ball field to AU conversion chart or something?

New definition hasn't been embraced yet... (1)

gx1400 (2085438) | about 2 years ago | (#41337209)

Google still says: 1 Astronomical Unit = 149 598 000 000 meters 1 Astronomical Unit = 8.79057469 × 10^10 smoots

About fucking time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337241)

It's about fucking time they fixed it. Does this mean we'll be getting a three day weekend now (finally)?
Correct. This makes no sense.

Not that anybody on Slashdot cares... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 2 years ago | (#41337273)

... because it's not an SI unit.

I'd have gone for 149,896,229,000m (4, Interesting)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41337311)

I know it's a bit out, but I'd go for 149,896,229,000m - exactly 500 light-seconds.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337337)

Our national debt is no longer astronomically high...

Good news! (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41337345)

Now when I read an article about an Oort cloud object 10,000 AU from the Earth, I'll know to scrub off that extra 2000 km from my mental model.

Not a good measure... (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 years ago | (#41337375)

I mean, how many Libraries of Congress is this new measurement?

Re:Not a good measure... (1)

jqpublic13 (935916) | about 2 years ago | (#41337473)

That depends if you place the books end-to-end, stack them on top of each other, or rip our their pages and fold them into a complex daisy chain.

Re:Not a good measure... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 2 years ago | (#41338029)

I prefer to measure in Linguine.
In that case: 787357214210.526631

Thank you, Bob Barker. (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#41337851)

Now that it's "Fixed", it's technically an Astronomical Eunuch.

I wonder how much AU is in ... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#41337887)

... lengths of football fields. Or school buses lined up end to end. Or number of King Georges standing with arms out stretched touching finger tips to finger tips stretching all the way from the center of Earth to center of Sun. That is the kind of units that makes sense. Not this convoluted French thingies that we don't even agree on the right way to spell, meter? metre? what the hell?

How much is that in Cesium atom wavelengths? (3, Funny)

jfengel (409917) | about 2 years ago | (#41337909)

Or more correctly, units of c times the period of "radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom". Let's get this down to fundamentals and not muck about with intermediate convenience units like "meters".

the chronoss unit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337975)

damn this is even easier to remember
150 billion meters
wow add a few meters and its suddenly not hard to forget....sides i am da man

At last (2)

NumenMaster (618275) | about 2 years ago | (#41338235)

We can rest easy now.

Need to do a new release of our calculator! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338327)

Hello,

I work for a company that makes graphical calculators... and we do handle AU.... and we just did a release...
and now we need to do another release to handle that new change...

crud!!

Ah, I love unit conversions... (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 2 years ago | (#41338393)

Almost as much as I love speeding to work in the morning @ 0.000000032 parsecs per leap year.

Excuse me, I'm going to go cook my lunch @ 69 million Joules per day.

Kerning adjustment... (1)

BubbaDave (1352535) | about 2 years ago | (#41338479)

Kerning adjustment would have taken care of it.
Nobody takes the trouble anymore...

Dave

So why are we using it? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 2 years ago | (#41338675)

If the distance is going to be bouncing around for various reasons it sounds like it isn't a good measurement. Personally I've always liked using light second as a measurement.
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