[5] Light year

Anno luce
Light year

Let’s break this up!

Anno luce is made up of two words.



What’s an anno luce? It is not a period of time, a periodo di tempo, but a distance, una distanza.

It is basically the distance that light travels in a year. It is known that the speed of light is around 300.000.000 m/s, which you would read in Italian as trecento milioni di metri al secondo, three hundred million meters per second.

Because the universe is so vast, astronomical distances are calculated in light years, anni luce.

Notice that anno, year, changes into anni, years. You can’t say anni luci in Italian as a plural.

If you want to ask what the distance is between this and that object, ask…

Qual è la distanza da/tra…?
What’s the distance between…?

Quanto dista…?
How far away is…?

You can also use anno luce as a figure of speech to mean that something is much more advanced than something else or simply that we don’t yet have the means to achieve something in the foreseeable future.


Qual è la distanza tra la Terra e la Luna?
What is the distance between the Earth and the Moon?

La distanza tra le stelle si misura in anni luce.
The distance between stars is measured in light years.

La Galassia di Andromeda dista circa 2 milioni e mezzo di anni luce.
The Andromeda galaxy is about 2.5 million light years away.

La nostra azienda è ad anni luce da qualsiasi altra impresa.
Our company is light years ahead of any other business.

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