Comparative distances of celestial objects

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Comparative distances of celestial objects

Post by starfinder »

I’ve been reading up recently about the distances of celestial objects, and decided to compile the table below. It lists the distances of various selected celestial objects, including solar system objects, then visible stars, nebulae, globular clusters, and finally galaxies. The objects are listed in ascending order of distance.

Whilst compiling the table, I learnt some interesting facts, for example, that:

- 1 light year is 63,241 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun (i.e. 63,241 AU, or 9.46 trillion km).

- the bright 1st magnitude star Deneb (α Cyg) is at a huge distance of 1,400 light years away. That is 162x further away than nearby Sirius (8.6 light years).

- one of the furthest stars which is visible to the unaided eye is magnitude +5.84 V762 in Cassiopeia (SAO 4358 / HIP 5926), at a distance of 16,308 light years. I shall certainly try to look out for this star the next time I’m at a dark-sky site. That is further than some globular clusters, e.g. M4 in Scorpius is only 7,200 light years away.

- one of the furthest objects of any kind which is visible in amateur telescopes is at an incredible distance of 2.4 billion light years away. That object is the famous quasar 3C 273 in Virgo (mag +12.9). That too shall be on my target list the next time I’m at a dark-sky site with a scope.

The table below is in picture file format copied from my MS-Word file as I've not figured out know how to copy the text as a table into the forum. Anyway, when I have the time, I shall try to list out the same data in text format so that it could be copied.

If there are errors in the table, please feel free to point them out, but do note that sometimes different data is given by different sources. I’ve taken the data from the web (e.g. Wikipedia) and some books. If anyone wishes to suggest objects for addition, do let me know too.

I think the table makes for an interesting read as it gives us a better appreciation of how far objects are especially when compared with others.


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Post by Gary »

Hi Gavin. Nice effort. Reminds me of Patrick Moore's Brillant Stars: ... 0304349720

In the first few pages of the book. There are many nice tables listing these stars by various different fields.
email: gary[at]
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"The importance of a telescope is not how big it is, how well made it is.
It is how many people, less fortunate than you, got to look through it."
-- John Dobson.

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