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September 27 2012

Earth-Sun Distance Measurement Redefined

One of the stalwart units of astronomy just got a makeover. The International Astronomical Union, the authority on astronomical constants, has voted unanimously to redefine the astronomical unit, the conventional unit of length based on the distance between the Earth and the sun.

"The new definition is much simpler than the old one," says Sergei Klioner of the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, one of a group of scientists who worked decades toward the change, which took effect last month during an IAU meeting.

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