The quote from this post confused me:

REY: (surprised) This is the Millenium Falcon! This is the ship that did the Kessel Run in 14 parsecs!

So I did a little bit of research and figured out the Kessel Run is indeed (as I assumed) a route, so something to be measured in lengths.

So since parsec is (in our universe afaik) a unit to measure lengths, I don't understand how this can make sense. One can't (i.e.) travel the distance of 100km in less then 80km (at least not without including relativity/time travel, which isn't that much discussed in Star Wars).

But multiple characters seem to claim/know that the Millennium Falcon made it in X parsecs.

Is there anything about the characters that implies this is done in universe to express i.e. Han's / Rey's missing1 knowledge of space travel?

Or did someone out of universe just fail, and they just remained true with it?

Or is it maybe just me who misses some knowledge, and a phrase like

This is the ship that did the well known route in amazing figure parsecs!

would be in both universes (Star Wars/ours) a meaningful expression? (If so I would be thankful of helping me improve my knowledge.)


To make clear this is not an duplicate, I'm referring especially to the point of view from The Force Awakens, while the related post mentioned is solved by a sourced correction of the wording in the movies. In The Force Awakens this wording is used again by Han and Rey (as far my sources are correct, I haven't seen the movie myself yet). So it is different from the related post.

1I know this probably isn't aimed for, but anyway it’s the only in universe result I can think of, one might expect to achieve.

  • @FuzzyBoots: Interesting reading, but sadly that can't be valid anymore. Since Rey is talking with Han about it in the same wording. And I'm not accepting that 2 differen't producers of the SW universe made the same screenplayerror happen. So since your linked question is answered by it was corrected to be a timunit in later versions, its anyway diferent from this OP, since now the question is "was it this time intended, or did they really just make the same error getting on screen again?"
    – Zaibis
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 13:52
  • 1
    I wasn't aware that they'd propagated the mistake into the newest movie. Heh... that's actually kind of amusing.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 13:54
  • 1
    If you think the answers on the other question are outdated, you can offer a bounty on the old one for the "outdated answers" reason, but this exact question has been asked before.
    – phantom42
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 13:55
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    I think the second answer is the one you are looking for in the linked question. "The Empire comes after him and he runs through the Kessel sector, running closer to the Maw and thereby shortening the distance of his trip.". He's boasting how close his hyperdrive allowed him to plot his course to the maw, which is probably a black hole.
    – user45549
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 13:56
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    Wookiepedia describes the kessel run as a route that requires jumping in and out of hyperspace, complex turns involved, etc. Suppose you have a route whose total distance is 100km, shaped like an S - Now suppose you could maneuver in such a way that allows you to cut through the S from the start right to the end. You just made the 100km run, but in less than 100km because you did not need to take the full path. Could be kessel run has some of these shortcuts, maybe asteroid fields, etc, that allow for cutting corners and certain speed is required to take them.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


The definition of "parsec" (in the real world) is influenced by a couple very specific things:

  • The size of the orbit of Earth
  • The division of a circle into 360 degrees, a degree into 60 arc-minutes, and an arc-minute into 60 arc-seconds

In the Star Wars Universe, the history of the Human race is a mystery. Humans are numerous and virtually ubiquitous, but no one knows where they came from. Is there a chance that the planet that Humans originated on (or just the one that invented the term that became common) has a roughly Earth-sized orbit? Certainly. In fact it's probably likely, given that our Sun is a middle aged, boringly typical star, and that the habitable zone around a star isn't particularly wide and is influenced mostly by the size of the star.

As for the division of a circle, there are a few references to degrees, although it's not clear how many there are. Near the very beginning of the Star Wars Death star attack:

WEDGE: Heavy fire, boss! Twenty degrees.

During the attack on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi:

LANDO: Watch yourself, Wedge! Three from above!

WEDGE: Red Three, Red Two, pull in!

RED TWO: Got it!

RED THREE: Three of them coming in, twenty degrees!

During the Federation Cruiser crash in Revenge of the Sith:

OBI-WAN: Steady . . . Attitude . . . eighteen degrees.


ANAKIN: Now we're really picking up speed. I'm going to shift a few degrees and see if I can slow us down.

  • Are you speculating or is it an offical statement that they don't share our unit system?
    – Zaibis
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 14:24
  • Some interesting stuff here on why 360 degrees is not entirely arbitrary: theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-185569,00.html. That's the "second" part of "parallactic second". As far as the "parallactict" part, the Earth's orbit is well-covered here. A parsec is not an inconceivable thing to end up being roughly the same in ALLTAIAGFFW. Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 22:01
  • @ChrisB.Behrens: The theories about devisors are maybe a side-effect, but not the rationale. 360 degrees is historical -- it comes from the Sumerians and Babylonians, who had base-60 math and a 360-day year. astro.unl.edu/naap/motion1/tc_history.html It's likely that another planet with a different-length year would pick a different number of degrees that divides pretty well, say 120 or 240.
    – Plutor
    Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 0:12
  • I heard an interesting theory that the reason it was base 12 was that they had a curious method of counting on their fingers with their thumbs, joint by joint. Four fingers x three joints = 12. Probably too good a story to be true. Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 0:19

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