Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from jeff:

1 light yr is 6,500 billion miles, the galaxy "andromeda" is 2,500,000 million light yrs, how many zeros are in this equation ?


First off, the Andromeda galaxy is 2,500,000 ly, not 2,500,000 million ly from here.

How many zeros in the corrected _problem_ depends on whether you count only the seven actually shown, or if you imagine the "billion" replaced by nine more zeros (for a total of 16)

However, the product (1.625 *1019) should be written as
16,000,000,000,000,000,000 (18 zeros) not
16,250,000,000,000,000,000 (16 zeros) because the zeros indicate nonsignificant digits, not digits known to be 0.

Good Hunting!


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