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In chapter 4 of the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, the first part of the six book series it reads,

Far away on the opposite spiral arm of the Galaxy, five hundred thousand light-years from the star Sol, Zaphod Beeblebrox, President of the Imperial Galactic Government, sped across the seas of Damogran, his ion drive delta boat winking and flashing in the Damogran sun.

The milky way is estimated to be about 100,000 light years wide.So 500,000 light years from any point in the milky way should be outside the galaxy.Is it an error in the book or am I missing something?

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    The out-of-universe explanation is that HHGG was originally a parody of bad SF tropes. It's supposed to be over the top, and inaccuracies only reinforce this. Or you can blame it on the Infinite Improbability Drive.
    – Spencer
    May 3 '20 at 13:42
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    Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?
    – Peter M
    May 3 '20 at 17:41
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    Spencer/Valorum: Short answers are still answers. Post them as such. May 3 '20 at 18:00
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    @TheLethalCarrot - It that's the case then that just makes them poor answers that wouldn't likely get upvoted much or accepted, or might even be called out or downvoted. Which is actually an extremely important reason to have them as answers if that's the case. The differentiation between "answer" and "comment" doesn't lay in quality level of the answer. May 3 '20 at 20:37
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    Belgium, man!! The maths were wrong....
    – Alith
    May 3 '20 at 22:17
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There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

The out-of-universe explanation is that HHGG was originally a parody of bad SF tropes. It's supposed to be over the top, and inaccuracies only reinforce this. Don't try to make comedy consistent.

Or rather, if you like, blame it on the Infinite Improbability Drive.

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  • Perhaps, like in Futurama, future voters decided to change the speed of light. Although apparently they found it worthwhile to reduce it rather than increase it, possibly to slow down the spread of bad news.
    – Cadence
    May 4 '20 at 6:48

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