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Unformatted text preview: 1.3 parsecs from the solar system. In order to convert parsecs into standard units like kilometers or meters, you must know the numerical value for the astronomical unit---it sets the scale for the rest of the universe. Its value was not know accurately until the early 20th century (see the planetary science chapter ). In terms of light years, one parsec = 3.26 light years. Which unit should you use to specify distances: a light year or a parsec? Both are fine and are used by astronomers (including myself) all of the time, just as you may use ``feet'' and ``yards'' in everyday talk. However, when the parsec unit is used on this web site, the equivalent in light years will usually be given as well, but when the light year unit is used, the parsec equivalent will usually not be given. Using a parsec for the distance unit and an arc second for the angle, our simple angle formula above becomes extremely simple for measurements from Earth: p = 1/ d...
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- Fall '10