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Distance is often defined as the extent between two objects or positions in space and/or time (e.g., “the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco”). Often, it is seen to represent “the shortest straight line between two points,” but this covers only one small part of the distance equation, as distance is not always covered in a straight line. Spatially, it can be measured in many units, such as meters, kilometers, feet, yards, nautical miles, furlongs, microns, light-years, degrees of arc, and so on, and temporally from eons to nanoseconds. Offset is a related term referring to displacement from a reference point, named place, or other feature, without the heading (for example, it refers to the “10 miles” portion of “10 miles from Albuquerque”).

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