light-century n.

the distance light travels in 100 years

  • 1908 Journal of the British Astronomical Association 21 Nov. 38 page image

    Beyond this data begin to fail, but these results already show that the star-density up to a distance of 200 light-years is nearly uniform and such that there are about 2000 stars of a luminosity exceeding 0.01 of that of the Sun in a cubic light-century.

  • 1922 H. Shapley On Significance of Recent Astron. Discovery in Homiletic Rev. July 52/2

    Expressing these large and small measures with reference to the velocity of light, we have an illustration of the scale of the astronomer’s universe—his measures range from the trillionth of a billionth part of one light-second, to more than a thousand light-centuries.

  • 1928 E. E. Smith & L. H. Garby Skylark of Space in Amazing Stories Sept. 545/1 page image Edward E. Smith Lee Hawkins Garby bibliography

    They made a reading on an object-compass focused upon the Earth. Seaton’s face lengthened as seconds passed. When it had come to rest, both men calculated the distance. “What d'you make it, Mart? I'm afraid to tell you my result.” “Forty-six point twenty-seven light-centuries,” replied Crane, calmly.

  • 1940 Astounding Science Fiction Nov. 115/1

    Edd Cartier tops your staff artists by a few light-centuries.

  • 1940 ‘R. Rocklynne’ Into Darkness June 56/2 Ross Rocklynne

    There were none of his friends near, nor his Mother, nor great-brained Oldster—there was no living thing within innumerable light-centuries.

  • 1949 ‘M. Leinster’ Lonely Planet in Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec. 86/1 Murray Leinster

    The percentage of loss among space ships dropped from one ship per thousand light-centuries of travel in overdrive, to less than one ship per hundred and twenty thousand light-centuries, and the causes of the remaining disasters were being surmised with some accuracy.

  • 1964 B. W. Aldiss Kind of Artistry in Starswarm ii. 11 Brian W. Aldiss

    Midway along the trailing edge was the blister in which Derek lay, senseless over most of his voyage, which stretched a quarter way across the light-centuries of Vermilion Sector.

  • 1966 J. W. Campbell Islands of Space xviii. 153 John W. Campbell, Jr.

    They stopped every light century until they reached a point where the star was merely a dim point, almost lost in the myriad of stars around it.

  • 1971 U. K. Le Guin Vaster Than Empires & More Slow in E. S. Rabkin Science Fiction: Historical Anthol. (1983) 501 Ursula K. Le Guin

    We're two light-centuries past the limit of the Hainish Expansion.

  • 1998 D. Weber Echoes of Honor xxxiii. 463 David Weber

    And that was what made the nervous serpent shift and slither in his belly as the digital display counted down towards the translation, because after a voyage of over a light-century and a half, it would take an error of only one five-millionth of a percent to give them all an egg’s-eye view of that stone wall.


Research requirements

antedating 1908

Earliest cite

Journal of the British Astronomical Association

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1940 cite from a letter by Don Bellaire in Astounding.
Michael Dolbear submitted a cite from a 1999 reprint of David Weber's "Echoes of Honor"; verified by Malcolm Farmer in the 1998 first edition.
Malcolm Farmer submitted a cite from a 1978 reprint of Murray Leinster's 1949 "The Lonely Planet"
Douglas Winston submitted a 1956 cite from a 1956 reprint of John W. Campbell's 1930 "Islands of Space".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite from a reprint of Brian Aldiss' 1964 "Starswarm".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1983 reprint of Ross Rocklynne's "Into the Darkness", which Alistair Durie confirmed in its 1940 first publication.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1928 cite from the magazine serialization of E.E. 'Doc' Smith's "The Skylark of Space"
Adam Buchbinder submitted a 1922 cite from an article by Harlow Shapley, "On the Significance of Recent Astronomical Discovery".
Bill Mullins submitted a 1908 cite from the Journal of the British Astronomical Association.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.