I posted a question about an in-game discovery on Astronomy, to see if a certain type of object I found could actually exist in nature.

While the general answer seems to be "yes", there remains some ambiguity on the point of exactly what the thing should be called.

One of the major factors in that determination may have to do with how big the object is. or how far it is from another celestial body. However, since celestial bodies themselves can be extremely large, an error equal to the radius of the body could be problematic.

So, this raises the question:

Are in-game distances from stars/planets/etc. given as a distance from the center, or the surface, of an object?

Secondarily, it would also probably be useful to know if there's a way to accurately measure the size and/or mass of in-game celestial bodies.

1 Answer 1


The distance measurement is from the center of the object, and you can see the exact size of all objects in the detail view of that object in your system map(scanning may be required).

  • So, to get the distance from the surface we need to take the object's radius and subtract it from the distance in our HUD? (Not taking into account variations in surface elevation.)
    – Iszi
    Aug 11, 2016 at 15:25
  • 1
    Sure? If you are playing Horizons and go into planetary landing mode, the distance changes to the surface.
    – Rapitor
    Aug 11, 2016 at 16:30
  • Worth noting: One of the things I was looking to measure when I started this question, was a ring system. It turns out the measurements for those show up in the detail view for the central body too.
    – Iszi
    Aug 19, 2016 at 14:47

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