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Geek Question of the Day « Ted's Polish-Mexican Page

Geek Question of the Day

Categories: Snarky Complaints
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Published on: May 13, 2015

Okay, everyone (well, nearly everyone) knows the error in Star Wars where Han Solo brags about completing the Kessal Run in 12 parsecs. Parsecs measure distance and not time, and no one buys George Lucas’s explanation that he knew that all along and meant that Solo knew a short cut or some such nonsense.

Pointing out the error has become one of those ways to show that you are “in the know” as a Star Wars fan. But, here’s the thing that gets me: why would Solo or anyone in a “Galaxy far, far away” be using parsecs to measure anything?

A parsec is approximately three and a quarter light years and has been in use for about a century. It is based on the distance from which the Earth and the Sun would appear one second of arc away from each other. Given the difference in sizes, it is doubtful that the Earth would appear at all if it is that far in apparent distance from the Sun. Never mind that though; it is in common use in astronomy.

Here’s the trouble: how would some guy from Alderaan establish what a parsec is? Is there some definition like, “Hey, you know that star? If there was a planet 93 million miles from it, how far away would you have to be for them to be an arcsecond apart? That’s my new measurement!”

Obviously, someone didn’t think this through.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

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