Ancient Suns logo, alien star and two planets

Planets for Humanity

Interstellar Travel Distances

The Gulf Between Stars

To view the image at right, move your mouse cursor over the colored control panel at the bottom of the image. The upper row is for images only, while the lower row is for images with labels.

Standing here on Earth, it is impossible to get a sense of the distance between stars. The series of images at right start at Earth, and increase the scale for each new image by a factor of ten. The last few images rotate the view of our closest neighboring stars for a better look at the neighborhood.

On average, the space between stars is roughly ten thousand times the size of Pluto's orbit.

For each view, the labelled version compares the time it takes, at various speeds, to travel the entire length of one side of the reference cube. The speeds compared are those of light, the Voyager spacecraft, a passenger jet, and a human walking.

From the length of time it takes the Voyager spacecraft to cover the distance between stars, it is obvious we need a faster starship.