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# Astronomical unit

 Astronomical unit File:Astronomical unit.png The average distance between the Sun and the Earth is 1 AU Standard: Astronomical system of units(Accepted for use with the SI) Quantity: length Symbol: au, ua, or AU Expressed in: 1 au, ua, or AU = metric (SI) units Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found. imperial & US units Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found. astronomical units Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found.   Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found.
The astronomical unit (AU) is a unit of length derived from the Earth's orbit. It is the average distance the Earth gets from the Sun on the long axis of the ellipse. Its definition is: the length of the semi-major axis of the Earth's elliptical orbit around the Sun. "Semi-major" means half the long axis.

The AU is about 150 million kilometers or 93 million miles. Astronomers usually measure distances within the Solar System in astronomical units. Mars is about 1.4 AU from the Sun, Jupiter lies at roughly 5.2 AU, and Neptune is roughly 30 AU from the Sun. Light travels an AU in about 8.317 minutes.

## More accuracy

From 1976 to 2012 the AU was defined as “the radius of an unperturbed circular Newtonian orbit about the Sun of a particle having infinitesimal mass, moving with a mean motion of 0.01720209895 radians per day (known as the Gaussian constant)”. [1][2][3] In 2012, the IAU redefined it to be simply Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found..[4]

In the IERS numerical standards, the speed of light in a vacuum is defined as c0 = Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found., in accordance with the SI units. The time to cover an AU is τA = Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found., resulting in the astronomical unit in metres as c0τA = Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Gapnum' not found..[5] It is very roughly the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

## References

1. Resolution No. 10 of the XVIth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, Grenoble, 1976
2. H. Hussmann, F. Sohl, J. Oberst (2009), "§4.2.2.1.3: Astronomical units", in Joachim E Trümper, Astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology. Volume VI/4B Solar System, Springer, p. 4,
3. Gareth V Williams (1997), "Astronomical unit", in James H. Shirley, Rhodes Whitmore Fairbridge, Encyclopedia of planetary sciences, Springer, p. 48,
4. Gérard Petit and Brian Luzum, eds. (2010). "Table 1.1: IERS numerical standards". IERS technical note no. 36: General definitions and numerical standards. International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service.  For complete document see Gérard Petit and Brian Luzum, eds. (2010). IERS Conventions (2010): IERS technical note no. 36. International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service. .