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The Question

(Submitted March 17, 1998)

How large is the Solar System?

The Answer

The size of the solar system is about 40 AU (40 times the distance between the earth and the sun), which is the orbit of Pluto. One AU equals 1.5 x 10^11 meters (150,000,000,000). But the gas from the Sun (the solar wind) goes out about five times that distance, and there are comets that are part of the solar system that extend even further.

Eric Christian
for Ask an Astrophysicist

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