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View Full Version : Just how many parsecs are in the Star Wars galaxy?



OscartheGrouch
2003-Oct-02, 01:50 AM
You can tell when movies make their way to Starz or Cinemax--that's when I see them so many times I have to write about them.

Parsec is short for "parallax second of arc" and if I understand correctly, an object seen from Earth on a specific day and then again six months later which appears to move one arcsecond due to parallax is therefore one parsec away. This works out to 3.262 light-years per parsec. Since they use the same linear meters in the SW galaxy as we do, I guess a parsec there is also supposed to be 3.262LY.

Solo's alleged 12-parsec Kessel Run has been hacked to death already. I kind of go with the official alternate Lucasfilm cop-out, which is that Solo just made it up.

Then there's the head-scratching inspired by SW Ep II: Attack of the Lame C3PO One-Liners. Galaxies are supposed to be like 100,000 parsecs across. If the SW galaxy is about this size, something does not add up. The issue does not seem to be addressed in the standard BA movie review, so here goes.

In the Coruscant Waffle House, I mean Dex's Diner, Obi-Wan's buddy Dexter Jettster (get ready for Ep III: The Characters With Tacky Names Strike Back) says Kamino is past the Outer Rim, not in the Republic, implying it's waaay out there. I THOUGHT he said 12pc past the Outer Rim, which is only one part in 10,000 of the SW galaxy. This is not very far out from the border. However, according to the official description of Kamino, it's 12pc south of the Rishi Maze, not necessarily 12pc past the Outer Rim unless that's where the Rishi Maze is, so I may have misheard or Dex may have misspoken.

So Obi-Wan goes looking for cloners on Kamino, and thence to Geonosis, and gets in more trouble. When Padme and Anakin get his distress call and relay it to Coruscant, Padme says she and Anakin should go get Obi-Wan because Geonosis is only 0.5pc away from Tatooine, whereas the Jedi units have to come halfway across the galaxy. Aha, now we're getting somewhere. Coruscant is near the galactic center, so Tatooine and Geonosis must be about at the tip of a spiral arm, unless Padme was exaggerating. Also, if Tatooine was only 0.5pc closer to Coruscant than Geonosis was, and still Coruscant is about 50kpc away from both/either of them, how would it help to relay the message through Padme's ship? Oh, wait, I think Obi-Wan said his antenna was damaged, so that would be it.

Seeing as how they only got there about half a day ahead of the Jedi, and almost got eaten as a result (note how the critter with the Stuart Little grin just happen to slash Padme's tunic all the way around at just the right level to show off the result of all that working out), and you'd think it would take all morning to assemble 200 Jedi on Coruscant anyway, they must go pretty fast in that galaxy or else the galaxy is really small.

Maybe the parsecs are bigger in the SW galaxy? If Coruscant, where they presumably got their standards from, was in a wide orbit, that would be the case. Maybe they say parsec when they mean KILOparsec? A thought? Anyone.

mike alexander
2003-Oct-02, 06:37 PM
Grumboodle. No matter what they say on the website, GL&Co are just tossing neat sounding words around. Just relax and watch.

Since a parsec is related to the Earth's orbit, it would be different for any other one, of course.

Listening to the post hoc explanations is like listening to the Press Secretary explaining what the President MEANT to say.

Just relax and watch. It's what I do.

zrice03
2003-Oct-03, 05:14 AM
My own personal guess is that the Star Wars galaxy is about 20,000-30,000 light-years across, on the order of some of the smaller spiral galaxies in the real universe. What I read about travel times in Star Wars is that it is not necessarily based on distance. The ships have to go around obstacles in space like asteroid fields and black holes(even though that is complete nonsense). In Star Wars Behind the Magic CD-ROM it says that is takes 26 days to go from Coruscant to Tatooine, yet just hours to zip around the inner rim. Maybe it is best to just sit back and watch rather than try to figure it out.

Firefox
2003-Oct-03, 05:39 PM
My own personal guess is that the Star Wars galaxy is about 20,000-30,000 light-years across, on the order of some of the smaller spiral galaxies in the real universe.

It's closer to 120,000 ly across, according to official literature.


Adam

zrice03
2003-Oct-04, 04:32 AM
It's closer to 120,000 ly across, according to official literature.

Really? Well, I was just guessing. Where did you get the information?

Firefox
2003-Oct-04, 04:06 PM
I happened upon it while perusing this (http://www.stardestroyer.net) site. It's one of the better sites on the Internet, as far as applying scientific method to viewing sci-fi. Essentially, they suspend disbelief, and infer how technology works, especially in Star Wars and Star Trek.


Adam

Mr. X
2003-Oct-06, 01:13 AM
The official former star wars cards before they were discontinued state that at parsec 13 is the farthest location out, the rebel rendezvous point they used before attacking death star 2.

Darth Vader states they are at Sullust in RoTJ (episode 6), which was in part false, since as I said the rendezvous point was at 13.

The star wars cards have established parsecs as a system that seems to describe a distance (radius) around a center point, Coruscant, which is at parsec 0.

To the best of my recollection:

parsec 1 Carida, Kuat, Kirdo III
parsec 2 Rendili, Wakeelmui, Bothawui, Kiffex, Tibrin
parsec 3 Nal Hutta, Raithal
parsec 4 Chandrila, Yavin
parsec 5 Anoat, Dantooine
parsec 6 Mon Calamari, Fondor
parsec 7 Sullust, Roche, Tatooine
parsec 8 Endor, Kessel
parsec 9 Gall, Dagobah
parsec 13 Rendezvous Point

It may not be fully accurate but I looked some up and it seems about right.

Two I know I am missing, Alderaan, which I believe to be at parsec 2 and Hoth which I believe is at around 5.

Firefox
2003-Oct-06, 01:35 AM
Keep in mind that the CCG cards are pretty low on the list of items as far as official material is concerned. Even the WEG technical manuals override the cards, as far as I remember.

Also, I'm a little confused by the numbering scheme you're discussing. Could you explain what you mean by "parsec 13" and so forth?


Adam

zrice03
2003-Oct-06, 03:31 AM
I think the parsec system on the cards is just to play with. If the galaxy is 120,000 ly across, there would have to be almost 40,000 of them. Maybe capitalizing parsec makes it different, like the way we capitalize Calorie to mean kilocalorie. (i.e. 1 Parsec = 10,000 ly, not 3.26 ly)

Mr. X
2003-Oct-06, 03:32 PM
Keep in mind that the CCG cards are pretty low on the list of items as far as official material is concerned. Even the WEG technical manuals override the cards, as far as I remember.

That would be probably false...
http://www.starwars-rpg.net/swfa/issue3/CCG.html


The Star Wars Customizable Card Game is the only exception to the rule. It is stated in the rulebookthat the material is "canonical", and that it reveals unknown information about the Star Wars universe. For this reason it is considered an official source. But it is important to note that this applies solely to the LORE of the cards; all other aspects of the cards are ignored (otherwise one could argue that Chewbacca is as strong as an Imperial Walker, which is clearly absurd).



8. What is the Star Wars' policy of what is canon, official, and inadmissable?
The movies, scripts of the movies, novelizations of the movies, and the radio dramas (in that order) are canon.

Official sources are novels (and other published stories), West End Games' gaming material, the Essential Guides series, the Behind the Magic CD-ROM, the lore of the Star Wars CCG, and generally most things which are published and authorized by Lucasfilm. They are all equal, but in case of a disagreement between the sources, the accepted procedure is to try and sort out which information is "more" official. For example, the Behind the Magic CD-ROM would be accepted over the WEG gaming material, simply because Lucasfilm published the BTM CD. Also, novels override the Essential Guides when discussing the same material, simply because the EGs draw from the novels as source material.
Inadmissable are video games and toys.

From http://www.sfdebris.com/faq.html


Which probably means the parsec system on the cards doesn't make sense however...

It's from the cards that comes the problem with C3PO's age and where he came from.

But I do think you have a point with the parsec system just for play...

The rendezvous point from what is on the card seems far out of the usual references of what is considered the inside of the galaxy for them... It seems to be a rebel rally point but it's unclear about that...

Madcat
2003-Oct-07, 05:10 AM
We shouldn't kid ourselves. The SW Galaxy is exactly as big as is convenient when writing today's book or screenplay. However, I can think of several ways you could figure out roughly how big it is. For one, there's some evidence that information travels relatively slowly through the cosmos.

OscartheGrouch
2003-Oct-07, 07:18 PM
In Star Wars Behind the Magic CD-ROM it says that is takes 26 days to go from Coruscant to Tatooine, yet just hours to zip around the inner rim. Maybe it is best to just sit back and watch rather than try to figure it out.
Well, now I can't, since this brings up another question: If Tatooine is as much as 3000pc (20,000LY diameter, 10,000LY = 3000pc radius) and 26 days from Coruscant at the galactic center, how did the Jedi rescue force get there at almost the same time as Anakin and Padme only .5pc away?

Firefox
2003-Oct-08, 02:41 AM
If Tatooine is as much as 3000pc (20,000LY diameter, 10,000LY = 3000pc radius) and 26 days from Coruscant at the galactic center, how did the Jedi rescue force get there at almost the same time as Anakin and Padme only .5pc away?

They didn't. The sequence of events was:

-Palpatine receives emergency powers. He announces the creation of an army. Mace and Yoda part ways, going to Geonosis and Kamino respectively.
-Padme and Anakin land on Geonosis, and infiltrate the factory where they're captured.
-Arena execution scene. (no indication is given how much time passed between their capture and the planned execution. It could have been several hours, or days.)
-Mace and party show up at Arena.
-Yoda arrives with clone army.

In other words, there's plenty of room for time to have passed, allowing Mace to travel to Geonosis and plan a rescue, and Yoda to arrive on Kamino, assume command of the army, and fly to Geonosis.


Adam

Phildonnia3
2003-Oct-08, 04:48 PM
parsec 6 Mon Calamari, Fondor

I always stop for some fried squid appetizers around parsec 6.

tracer
2003-Oct-15, 04:22 AM
I think the parsec system on the cards is just to play with. If the galaxy is 120,000 ly across, there would have to be almost 40,000 of them.
More than that, if the Galaxy is going to be divided up along more than one dimension. Since spiral galaxies are basically disk-shaped, shouldn't it be divided into a 2-dimensional grid?

tracer
2003-Oct-15, 04:24 AM
parsec 6 Mon Calamari, Fondor

I always stop for some fried squid appetizers around parsec 6.
Just don't tell Admiral Akbar. He'll turn red with rage if he hears you've been eating his kind!

Ikyoto
2003-Oct-15, 11:51 AM
I remember an interview George Lucas did after ROTJ came out. He stated that the entire "Star Wars mythos" (his wording) was more a sotry of fantasy and archtypes rather than having any basis in science. He never wanted anything more than neat sounding technical stuff in it rather than real science or pseudo-science.

It's like the old argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin....


...actually I've always wondered how many you can pin down on a poster board with a single 1" pin. :-k