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View Full Version : Bad astronomy the book vs. Star Wars



2002-Aug-12, 12:57 AM
First let me say I loved the book and the website, about time someone took a stance for common sense. However I do have to come to the defense of the star wars movie. In particular the part where Han comments that the falcon made the Kessel run in under 12 Parsecs.
You see the region of space around Kessel is filled with Singularities, so the object is to take the shortest route though the region without being torn apart by the tidal forces or crossing an event horizon. Han was boasting that he had flown the "shortest" route tthough the region not the quickest. I know it was confusing when the movie came out but the writers have Fleshed out the starwars universe to make his statement more accurate.

Oh and I think they read your board because the latest novel has the Falcons computer adding a nice "audible explosion" to indicate that Leia has destroyed a fighter.

Thanks for letting me rant.

David Hall
2002-Aug-12, 06:36 AM
Surely you don't believe the BA hasn't been informed of this before? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif He has a page about it:

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/kessel.html

Remember, the Kessel Run description was only fleshed out in the novels, not in the movies, which means that they are not really officially part of the Star Wars universe.
My personal feeling is that, yes, it is a retcon like the BA says, but that they did manage to come up with a really good way to explain away Lucas' movie goof.

SeanF
2002-Aug-12, 04:43 PM
Nah, I don't think it's that good of a retcon. The dialogue in the movie is something along the lines of:

Kenobi: "Yes, indeed - if she's a fast ship."
Solo: "'Fast ship?' You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon?"
Kenobi: "No. Should I have?"
Solo: "It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. She's fast enough for you, old man."

There's no way you can tell me he's bragging about his piloting and navigational skills - he's talking about the speed of the ship.

I read somewhere that Lucas claims it was done intentionally to show that Solo's basically full of **, which certainly fits the dialogue better, but still sounds like Lucas is retconning to me . . . /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Wiley
2002-Aug-12, 05:34 PM
Perhaps Lucas was measuring time in normalized units: t' = c*t. In these units, 12pc is about 39 years.

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif

Kizarvexis
2002-Aug-13, 02:15 AM
On 2002-08-12 12:43, SeanF wrote:
Nah, I don't think it's that good of a retcon. The dialogue in the movie is something along the lines of:

Kenobi: "Yes, indeed - if she's a fast ship."
Solo: "'Fast ship?' You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon?"
Kenobi: "No. Should I have?"
Solo: "It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. She's fast enough for you, old man."

There's no way you can tell me he's bragging about his piloting and navigational skills - he's talking about the speed of the ship.

I read somewhere that Lucas claims it was done intentionally to show that Solo's basically full of **, which certainly fits the dialogue better, but still sounds like Lucas is retconning to me . . . /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif





I remember seeing an interview with Lucas where he describes that the parsec comment shows that Han Solo is a little full of **. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif I remember Lucas had more black than grey in his hair. I think it was for a behind the scenes part of one of the VHS tapes.

Kizarvexis

David Hall
2002-Aug-13, 05:04 AM
On 2002-08-12 12:43, SeanF wrote:
Nah, I don't think it's that good of a retcon.

What I meant by a good retcon is that I think it's impressive they came up with a logical and reasonable way to explain it without it seeming forced. I remember when I first read it how I felt it explained it well and that it didn't feel jury-rigged (unlike the speaker-explosions also mentioned above). But I still admit that it is an after-the-fact work-around and that the scene as-written was wrong.

OTOH, it's interesting to hear people confirming the idea that Lucas was just trying to show Han as full-of-it. That means it really was intentional and not a continuity goof. But I don't really like that answer either. Han was a space pilot after all, and he would know what a parsec is. Even if he was just **-ing, I'd think he'd have the sense to avoid that obvious of a goof. While spouting ** may have been in character, misusing space pilot jargon would not.

Hale_Bopp
2002-Aug-31, 08:26 PM
Of course, in the novel it is also revealed than Han did the Kessel run in such a short distance because he screwed up, not because of his great skill /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Rob

Kizarvexis
2002-Aug-31, 09:06 PM
On 2002-08-13 01:04, David Hall wrote:


On 2002-08-12 12:43, SeanF wrote:
Nah, I don't think it's that good of a retcon.

What I meant by a good retcon is that I think it's impressive they came up with a logical and reasonable way to explain it without it seeming forced. I remember when I first read it how I felt it explained it well and that it didn't feel jury-rigged (unlike the speaker-explosions also mentioned above). But I still admit that it is an after-the-fact work-around and that the scene as-written was wrong.

OTOH, it's interesting to hear people confirming the idea that Lucas was just trying to show Han as full-of-it. That means it really was intentional and not a continuity goof. But I don't really like that answer either. Han was a space pilot after all, and he would know what a parsec is. Even if he was just **-ing, I'd think he'd have the sense to avoid that obvious of a goof. While spouting ** may have been in character, misusing space pilot jargon would not.

I'm not so sure. Thinking about it now, aren't small Star Wars ships more like cars than planes. I mean, you jump in and turn the key to take off. You have on-board computers or droids to handle the hyperspace navigation, so how much would Han Solo *really* have to know? He obiviously needs to know how to fix the Falcon, but does he really need to know how to navigate hyperspace?

Kizarvexis

The Shade
2002-Sep-23, 02:57 PM
I agree with BA's interpretation of why Lucas put the term parsec in the movie. It's much more likely that Lucas read the term "parsec" and interpreted the "sec" portion as "second", i.e. a time unit. So, yes, Lucas screwed up royally.

David Hall
2002-Sep-23, 11:48 PM
Well, the sec in parsec really is "second". It's just not the same second as the time unit. The term is actually a contraction of "parallax second". In other words, it's an arc-second, a measurement of angle.

The BA explains it here:
http://www.badastronomy.com/mad/1996/parsec.html

lpetrich
2002-Sep-26, 10:47 PM
The theory I like best is Dr. Isaac Asimov's that "parsec" was something like a typo.

Luriko-Ysabeth
2002-Oct-01, 06:16 AM
Or "parsek" is a Corellian measure of time equivalent to, oh, one and three-sevenths of our hours. ^_^

(I'm *surprised* they didn't use that one. A fair amount of words sound remarkably like other words in unrelated languages.)

Donnie B.
2002-Oct-01, 11:00 PM
On 2002-09-23 19:48, David Hall wrote:
Well, the sec in parsec really is "second". It's just not the same second as the time unit. The term is actually a contraction of "parallax second". In other words, it's an arc-second, a measurement of angle.

The BA explains it here:
http://www.badastronomy.com/mad/1996/parsec.html

David, I think you need to read the BA's article a bit more carefully. A parsec is not an angle, it's a distance (of about 3 light-years, to be exact). And it is not the same thing as an arcsecond.

Yes, there is an angle involved in determining the length of the parsec, and the size of that angle is an arcsecond, but there are other important measurements involved in the computation -- to wit, the diameter of Earth's orbit.

But anyway... IMHO, Lucas just goofed and tried to cover it up afterward...
/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

David Hall
2002-Oct-02, 05:24 AM
On 2002-10-01 19:00, Donnie B. wrote:

David, I think you need to read the BA's article a bit more carefully. A parsec is not an angle, it's a distance (of about 3 light-years, to be exact). And it is not the same thing as an arcsecond.


And I think you need to read my post more carefully. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif I didn't say a parsec was a measurement of angle. I said the "sec" in parsec is an arcsecond. I understand how the distance is measured.

Donnie B.
2002-Oct-02, 05:06 PM
David,

Sorry, I misunderstood.

David Hall
2002-Oct-03, 04:35 PM
Hey, no problem. I realized that. That's why I put the smiley in. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

It's better to clear up misunderstandings than to let them remain unchecked.

Jetmech0417
2003-Jan-16, 06:07 PM
(of about 3 light-years, to be exact).imphasis mine

Ahh, the exactitude of science...

Edited to fix somethin'

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Jetmech0417 on 2003-01-16 13:09 ]</font>