Astronomical units of measure
Astronomical units of measure ¹) are used to meet the specific needs of astronomy and its vast dimensions. It is primarily about masses , distances and radiant power as well as special ways of writing times.
¹) Not to be confused with the astronomical unit , which is one of these units of measurement.
Some typical astronomical measurement systems and their characteristics are also described below.
introduction
Compared to the (terrestrial) units of measurement we are familiar with , the magnitudes in astronomy are often literally “astronomical” and human perception threatens to fail: The distance from our sun to the nearest star ( Proxima Centauri ) is around 40 trillion kilometers ; our sun weighs around 1.9891 · 10 ^{30} kg. You can compare these values with others, but you risk losing any sense of magnitude .
Therefore, in astronomy one often uses ratios to familiar quantities in order to get an easier comparison.
 The light year (the distance traveled by light in a year) is often used for distance information, a fact that often irritates laypeople because the term “ year ” suggests a period of time.
 The mass of stars , planets or other astronomical objects is often given in multiples of the mass of other objects, e.g. B. in units of solar or earth mass .
 Specifying an angle in rotation bound coordinate systems in the amount of time that the intuitive access to the period of rotation meet, such as the day of the earth , ie 24 hours instead of 360 degrees , for example, rating time = 1 ^{h} 23 ^{m} 45 ^{s} .^{}^{}^{}
Crowds
size  Formula symbol ^{*}  Value in kg 
Comparative values  Source for value 

Solar mass  M _{☉}  1.9891 · 10 ^{30}  ≈ 1047.5655 M _{♃} ≈ 332 946.08 M _{♁} 
( IAU ) 
Jupiter mass  M _{♃}  1.89881 · 10 ^{27}  ≈ 317.8284 M _{♁}  
Earth mass  M _{♁}  5.9736 · 10 ^{24}  ≈ 81 M _{☾}  
Moon mass  M _{☾}  7.348  · 10 ^{22}
Note: The product of the mass of a celestial body and the gravitational constant can be determined approx. Five decimal places more precisely than the mass itself. Therefore, the ratio of the masses to each other can also be determined more precisely than the masses.
Lengths
size  Formula symbol  Value in km  Comparative values  Source for value 

Solar radius  R _{☉}  6,957 · 10 ^{5}  ≈ 9.72 R _{♃} ≈ 104.26 R _{♁} 
(IAU specifications) 
Jupiter radius  R _{♃}  Equator: 71492, Pole: 66854  ≈ 11.21 R _{♁}  
Earth radius  R _{♁}  Equator: 6378.1 Poles: 6356.8  ≈ 3.67 R _{☾}  
Moon radius  R _{☾}  1738  ( NASA ) 
The following astronomical units of measurement also do not belong to the International System of Units . In astronomy they are largely indispensable and are therefore also used. The light year is usually not used by astronomers in technical terms.
size  Formula symbol  Value in meters  Comparative values  reference  Source for value 

Astronomical unit  AE (international: au)  149 597 870 700  ≈ 499 light seconds ≈ 8.3 light minutes approx. 390 times the mean distance between earth and moon 
roughly the mean distance from earth to sun  
Light year  Lj  9 460 730 472 580 800  ≈ 63 240 AU ≈ 0.3066 pc approx. ¼ of the distance to the next star ( Proxima Centauri ) 
Distance traveled by light in a vacuum during a Julian year .  
Parsec  pc  30 856 775 777 948 584  ≈ 3.261 563 777 ly  From a distance of 1 pc, 1 AU appears at an angle of 1 ". 
time
According to an astronomical convention of the IAU, one gives
 Time points in the form of 1 ^{h} 23 ^{m} 45 ^{s} , modern also 01:23:45 ,
 However, the duration is 1h 23 m 45s .
It is not customary to indicate times with ′ and ″ in order to avoid confusion with angular minutes and angular seconds .
To distinguish between solar time (civil time) and sidereal time , the latter is often written with a superscript asterisk, for example
1 ^{h} 30 ^{m} 00 ^{s} = 1 ^{h *} 30 ^{m *} 14.78 ^{s *} .
power
There is still a convention to illustrate certain services by e.g. B. with the radiant power of the sun, a whole galaxy or the whole universe .
size  Formula symbol  Value in watts 
Comparative values  Definition / reference  Source for value 

Sun luminosity  L _{☉}  3.828 x 10 ^{26} W. 

brightness
The apparent brightness (size class or magnitudo m) is generally defined
with I _{1,2 } radiation intensity (energy per time and area in Js ^{−1} m ^{−2} = Wm ^{−2} ). This is purely a comparison measure, so you need a standard:
size  Formula symbol  value  Comparative values 

apparent brightness of the star Vega in the constellation Lyra 
m _{0}  0 ^{m} 
Polar Star : 2.12 ^{m } Sirius : −1.6 ^{m } Full moon : −12.5 ^{m} (average over pg / ag ) Sun : −26.87 ^{m} 
See also
Individual evidence
 ↑ ^{a } ^{b } ^{c} Astronomical Units (English)  Article at the IAU
 ↑ ^{a } ^{b } ^{c } ^{d} Determination of the IAU (English)
 ↑ NASA's Cosmicopia  Ask Us  Earth and Moon (English)  Daten u. a. from the moon and the earth
 ^ Geoff Brumfiel: The astronomical unit gets fixed. In: nature. September 14, 2012, accessed September 20, 2012 .