Sunday, 30 September 2012

The astronomical unit (AU) gets fixed

Earth–Sun distance changes from slippery equation to single number.

149,597,870,700 metres

Without fanfare, astronomers have redefined one of the most important distances in the Solar System. The astronomical unit (au) — the rough distance from the Earth to the Sun — has been transformed from a confusing calculation into a single number. The new standard, adopted in August by unanimous vote at the International Astronomical Union's meeting in Beijing, China, is now 149,597,870,700 metres — no more, no less.

More information: Nature 

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