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Light Year Conversion

Created by Wei Bin Loo
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


With this light year conversion tool, we aim to help you convert light year into different length units. To understand more on this topic, please check out our speed of light calculator and light year calculator.

We have written this article to help you understand the following:

  • What light year is;
  • How to convert light years to miles;
  • How to convert light years to kilometers; and
  • How to convert light years to meters.

We will also demonstrate some examples to help you understand the light year conversion calculation.

What is light year?

A light year is the distance that light travels in one year, which is about 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometers. Because the speed of light is constant, this distance provides a useful way to measure the vast distances in space.

For example, the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, is about 4.24 light years away, meaning that the light we see from that star today left it over four years ago.

How to convert light years to miles?

To convert light years into miles or kilometers, we need to multiply the distance in light years by the number of miles or kilometers in one light year, which is 5.88 trillion miles (9.46 trillion km).

For example, if we want to know how many miles are in 3 light years, we would multiply 3 by 5.88 trillion miles to get 17.64 trillion miles.

How to convert light years to kilometers?

For the conversion of light years into kilometers, we need to multiply the distance in light years by the number of miles or kilometers in one light year. One light year is approximately 9.46 trillion kilometers, so we can use this conversion factor to convert between the two units.

For example, if we want to know how many kilometers are in 2 light years, we would multiply 2 by 9.46 trillion kilometers to get 18.92 trillion kilometers.

How to convert light years to astronomical units?

Another unit of measurement often used in astronomy is the astronomical unit (AU), which is the average distance between the Earth and the Sun. This distance is approximately 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) and is often used to measure distances within our own solar system.

For the conversion of light years into astronomical units, we need to divide the distance in light years by the number of light years in one astronomical unit, which is 0.000015813.

For example, if we want to know how many astronomical units are in 5 light years, we would divide 5 by 0.000015813 to get approximately 316,602 astronomical units.

With our calculator, we can also help you convert light years into Earth radii, Sun radii, and megaparsecs. You can also check out our length converter to understand more about this topic.

It's worth noting that these distances are so vast that they are difficult to comprehend. Even the distance to our closest star, Proxima Centauri, is so large that it would take over 30,000 years to travel there at the speed of our fastest spacecraft.

FAQ

What is 1 light year converted to miles?

1 light year is approximately 5.88 trillion miles. 1 light year is converted to miles by multiplying 1 by 5.88 trillion.

Is a light year a unit of time or distance?

A light year is a unit of distance, specifically the distance that light travels in one year.

Can we travel faster than the speed of light?

According to our current understanding of physics, it is not possible for anything with mass to travel faster than the speed of light.

How to convert light years to meters?

You can convert light years into meters in 3 steps:

  1. Determine the number of light years to convert.
  2. Multiply the number of light years by 9,461 trillion.
  3. Analyse the results in meters.
Wei Bin Loo
Distance in light years
ly
Metric
km
Imperial / US
mi
Astronomical
au
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