Did you guys know that the Millennium Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? Han Solo’s often-quoted concept seems impressive to those he tells it to. However, if he told this to a real scientist, they’d likely laugh in his face. But why would they do so? The first reason is that Han is using the term “parsec” as a measure of speed. However, it is actually a measure of distance.
Astronomers really use the term “parsec,” as it represents the distance that the radius of Earth’s orbit subtends an angle of one second of arc. This measures out to offer a distance of roughly 3.26 lightyears per parsec. Many scientists round up to 3.3 lightyears, however. Both work but mathematically, always use the 3.26 number. Due to this being a measure of distance, Han Solo’s comment would not make any sense to the space travelers or racers he bragged to.