View Full Version : Lightyear or light-year?

03-20-2010, 04:07 AM
My spellchecker keeps telling me it's light-year, but that just looks strange to me. I've always thought it was lightyear. So, I came here to ask for a second opinion for you knwoledgeable folks. How do you usually spell it?

03-20-2010, 04:09 AM
Webster's shows either "light-year" or "light year" is acceptable. I've always seen it as "light year", never "lightyear".

03-21-2010, 03:17 AM
I've seen it in all three ways. Usually softer scifi has 'lightyear'. Star Wars expanded universe novels spring immediately to mind.

Use whatever you prefer, as the publisher will correct it to the house style regardless. Myself, I use 'light-year' typically.

03-21-2010, 03:27 AM
I've always typed "light years"


03-21-2010, 03:38 AM
Science has always used the open spelling ('light year'), and more recently MAY accept the hyphenate (but I have not personally seen this form in any journal articles), but NEVER the closed spelling (yet--give Google enough time...).

The open spelling is more true to how the concept is rendered by physicists and astronomers.

03-21-2010, 04:37 AM
It's the single word lightyear when it's the proper name "Buzz Lightyear." :)

And if you want to be a little more arcane while avoiding this question, you can convert distances to parsecs.

Or furlongs...

03-21-2010, 04:32 PM
Light years have fewer calories, right?

03-21-2010, 06:58 PM
Light years have fewer calories, right?

Nah-it's a scam. They took out the fat and added sugar. Give you diabetes instead of love handles.


03-22-2010, 01:19 AM
Great Taste!

Wow, that's from way back when I actually drank beer...

03-22-2010, 02:51 PM
Or furlongs...

I knew NASA's been slow to adapt the metric system but I didn't know how slow...

Manuel Royal
03-22-2010, 03:52 PM
And as a reminder of what a distance a light year is, the Voyager 1 probe, more than three decades after launch and moving ten miles a second, is about 15 light hours away. (And still functioning; terrific machine.)