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Farthest Exoplanet from Earth

Currently there are two exoplanets that qualify as being the farthest from Earth. They are in two different star systems and go by the rather tedious names of SWEEPS-04 and SWEEPS-11. They are both located at about 27,700 light years from Earth, which means that it would take light about 27,700 years to travel from Earth to either planet. For a spacecraft traveling at 20,000 miles per hour (which is achievable already), it would take about over 930 million years to get to the planets from Earth. You can find further details on what is known about the physical parameters of these planets and their host stars by visiting the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia page for SWEEPS-04 and the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia page for SWEEPS-11.

If you would like to be able to find out yourself what is the farthest exoplanet found so far, here is how you do it. Go to the Extrasolar Planets Encylopedia catalog page and click on the button in the header of the table that says “All fields” and then click on the column called Distance. When you click on it, the data in the table should be sorted in order of numerical value in that column (i.e., the distance between Earth and the planets). An arrow just to the right of the word Distance tells you whether the numerical order is ascending or descending (the arrow will point upwards for an ascending order). If you click the column header again, the numerical ordering will flip from ascending to descending or vice versa. To find the farthest exoplanet to Earth you want the distance measurements to be descending, with the largest values appearing first. However, the rows that appear first will have no entries in the Distance column and these correspond to exoplanets for which the distance from Earth has not been measured. Scroll down until you see the first non-blank entry in the Distance column. That is the farthest exoplanet, and the number in the cell is the distance to the nearest exoplanet in units called parsecs. You can convert these to any other units by typing an appropriate statement in a Google search box. The conversion factor from parsecs to light years is such that you multiply parsecs by 3.26 to get light years.

Revision history: This article was last updated on: 03 August 2012.

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