I was searching for an answer for this question and it got me thinking: What if a year on Asgard is longer than a year on Midgard?

Thor and Loki can be same Asgard age but born God knows how many of Midgard years apart. The Asgard Wiki says that Asgard is a small, planetary body. It is about the size of a small state. It is not round like the Earth, does not spin on its axis, and does not revolve around a star.

My question is how do Asgardians tell passage of time and how long is a year on Asgard, compared to the rest of the universe?

  • You've limited the scope to the MCU do you want to extend it past that to include the comics? – Edlothiad Nov 28 '17 at 14:43
  • Yeah that might be good idea – Vanja Vasiljevic Nov 28 '17 at 14:43
  • Ok I've removed all scope boundaries to include any canonical work from marvel about Asgard, does that seem appropriate? – Edlothiad Nov 28 '17 at 14:44
  • yup, its good, tanks :D – Vanja Vasiljevic Nov 28 '17 at 14:46

A year is a year is a year (in the MCU at least)

In Thor: Ragnarok, we see "year" referenced several times to multiple beings without any clarification as to what frame of reference was being used. But perhaps the most telling was from the Grandmaster himself:

"Time works real different around these parts. On any other world I would be millions of years old but here on Sakaar..."

(source: "Thor: Ragnarok" quotes)

If years were relative, there'd no point in comparing to it as an absolute unit (or saying "on any other world"). Likewise when Thor tells Banner that he's been gone for a few years, and to Surtur that he thought Odin had killed him "like, half a million years ago".

As to what frame of reference is being used, the obvious answer seems to be Midgard. All the references to "year" given to humans match up with the Earth year, and with Asgard's general interest in Midgard as well as a lack of their own "year" (like you mentioned, no orbit), this would make sense. This is supported by Volstagg in the original Thor movie, first in a conversation with Sif (an Asgardian):

    Is it just me, or does Earth look a
    little different to you?

    It has been a thousand years...

And then later with Jane (a human):

    Well, perhaps I've put on a little
    more muscle since I was here last.

    That would have been a thousand 
    years ago? Northern Europe? 

(source: "Thor" script)

As far as how they tell the year, I'd argue that they do it the same way we do: technologically. We used to tell years by revolutions of the Earth around the sun, but there came a point where we learned how to measure it by other means (such as atomic clocks). Given their advanced technology, it seems likely that they would do the same.

One other possible interpretation though, is that it's "translated" for the audience's sake. Maybe they give something in one of their units, but it's just shown to us, the viewer, in an understandable conversion. This is particularly common as an explanation in some media for why alien species all speak English (although in the MCU, most of them do seem to speak English, since humans can understand them).

  • 2
    Worth noting that, at least in the comics, the Asgardians speak a magical language called the all-tongue, which all listeners understand as their own language, so it may actually be being magically translated to an appropriate time unit. – Jack Nov 28 '17 at 23:30

This is my first time responding here!

From what I've found, in Thor, when speaking to Odin, he clarifies that they are not gods, nor immortal, to which Loki responds "Give or take 5,000 years". If we do some math and say 5,000 is the average life expectancy of a typical Asgardian (according to Loki), and divide that by 80 years here on earth, we get 62.5. According to Norse Mythology, Thor should have been a few hundred years old in 965AD during the battle with the Frost Giants to conquer earth. Loki was found/taken after the war, as seen in the first Thor movie.

Now, according to the official marvel timeline, 1,000 years before Tony Stark declared "I am Iron Man" in 2008, Odin took the Casket and Loki, making Loki's birth year around 1008. 2018-1008= 1010 Asgardian years old. 1010/62.5= 16.2 Earth years old.

Since Thor was a few hundred years old in 965AD, and 400 years after taking the casket and Loki, Odin left the Tesseract on Earth, that means that Thor would have been considered an "adult" by that time (1,408AD) In Viking culture, a male was considered an adult at 10 years of age and able to fight. We can calculate this 2 ways:

625/62.5= 10 years old. 625-400= Making Thor 225 years old in 965AD (Thor would have been only about 3 and a half during the war and obviously couldn't fight.) 965-225= Makes his birth year 740AD 2018-740= 1,278 Asgardian years old 1,278/62.5= 20.4 Earth years old.

1,408-625= Making his birth year 783AD 965-783= Making Thor 182 in 965AD (Thor would have been 3 years old and, again, couldn't fight) 2018-783= 1,235 Asgardian years old 1,235/62.5= 19.8 Earth years old

Either way, Thor is about 20 Earth years old, and Loki is about 16 Earth years old.

Please feel free to critique my math. It's nearly 2am by the time I post this.

  • I feel like I'm misunderstanding something. What do you mean by "Earth years old"? Do you mean to say that Thor's "human equivalent" maturity would be about 20 years old? Because human equivalent maturity and Earth years are not the same thing. Either way, I don' think this addresses the question of how long the Asgardian year is. – Mwr247 Apr 10 '18 at 14:19
  • To clarify: I believe the answerer is saying Thor is "20 Earth years old" in the same way you'd say a 10-year-old dog was "70 human years old", because 1 year for a dog is the equivalent of 7 years for a human. – RDFozz Jul 9 '18 at 22:08

I have no clue how old Loki and Thor are said to be but since Asgard has no orbit let's assume that time is slower there, meaning one Asgardian year is one century for us. I have no facts to prove this, it is just my theory, go ahead and correct me all you want.

  • Welcome to SFF! Here we are a Q/A site rather that a discussion forum and so prefer answers rooted in evidence. If you have any could you edit in some in that would be good. I recommend you take the tour! – TheLethalCarrot Jul 9 '18 at 18:26

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