Planetary Science
Planet Saturn
Speed of Light

How many hours would it take to travel to Saturn at the speed of light?

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August 24, 2008 3:49AM

The answer depends on where Saturn is in relation to the earth.

Since both planets orbit the sun at different distances and

different speeds, this distance varies over time.

Check out this webpage-

http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/uncgi/Solar/

It lists the distances from earth to the other planets and the

sun, updated constantly. Right now, the distance from Earth to

Saturn is 10.326 AU. One AU is equal to the mean distance from the

Earth to the Sun; 149,598,000 km.

So we calculate the answer taking the current distance in AU,

converting to kilometers, then dividing by the speed of light

(300,000km/sec, roughly)

10.326 au * 149,598,000 km/au = 1544748948 km (1,544,750,000 km

if we're keeping track of significant digits).

Divide by c- 1,544,750,000 km / 300,000 km/s = 5149.2

seconds.

Convert to hours by dividing by 3600 (60 seconds / minute * 60

minutes / hour)

=1.43 hours or so.

[you can get a more precise hour by using a better value for the

speed of light, but the answer will be very close to what is

given.]


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