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The Starfield mod changes the measurement of distances from astronomical units to light years

Have you ever thought, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if Starfield displayed distances in light years instead of astronomical units?” If your answer is yes, then you can download this extremely simple mod for Starfield with the simple name See Distances in Light Years .



Description reads:


Does exactly what it says in the name. Changes the display of interstellar distances on your ship’s interface from astronomical units (AU) to light years (LY). Also increases the maximum distance value in light seconds (LS) from 50,000 to 500,000. If the distance is greater than this, it will begin to display as 0.02 LY.”



Developer Deebz96 said he created the mod because he “had a hard time perceiving AU at such distances” and the light-year dimension is “much easier to interpret at a glance, especially if you’re used to other space games.”

It turns out that there are quite a few players who are annoyed by astronomical units of measurement. Part of this is due to a misunderstanding of what an astronomical unit is (for reference, the distance from the Earth to the Sun), but there is also the fact that on interstellar scales, the use of AUs becomes not particularly practical due to the enormous distances.


In September 2023, Redditor Racehorse88 wrote on this topic:


Astronomers typically use units of LS (light second) for distances within a planetary system (or LD – lunar distance for near-Earth objects), AU for objects within the solar system, and light years for more distant objects.


I scratched my head a little when I first saw this in Starfield – even distances of a dozen light years are shown as hundreds of thousands of AUs, which is as meaningless a way as expressing Earth-Jupiter distances in hundreds of millions of kilometers. It’s unclear why they didn’t use LY if they already used LS and AU.


Ultimately, it’s up to players to decide whether to switch to light years or continue using astronomical units.


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