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Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope - Learn Some Physics, Han!
In the scene when Luke and Obi-wan first meet Han Solo, Han tells them "It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs!"
A Parsec is a measurement of astronomical distance equal to 3.26 lightyears not a unit of time measurement.
(Some sources say that this was intentional and meant to show a poor attempt by Han to impress.)
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Star Wars: A New Hope
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Contributed By:
Kelwen on 11-15-1999
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Comments:
Virus_Boy writes:
Well, from what I have read, the planet Kessel is near a black hole cluster, and you have to go around it in order to get there, but Han supposedly went very close to the cluster on that run to save time, and since he didn't go around the cluster, it was fewer parsecs then if he had gone around it.
30 of 34 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Tom C. writes:
I reacently got the Star Wars DVD set, with all three movies in it. In the A New Hope commentary Gorege Lucas talks about this. He says that when in hyper space the ship has to navigate around things so as to not be destroyed. There for, the shorter path you take will decrease the amount of time it takes you to travel from place to place. So the Falcon just has a good navigation system so that it can cut as close as possible to things in space and save time.
7 of 9 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
KieranJanson writes:
If you read the books, in the Han Solo Trilogy, the books that happen before Episode 4, you see how he made the Kessel Run in under Twelve Parsecs. He was trying to outrun an Imperial Craft, and he skirted too close to the edge of the Maw, and it bent time and space somehow. That's how he did it.
8 of 14 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
fred writes:
While Captain Solo is known to make boastful claims that seem to defy the basic laws of space-time physics, in this particular case, an understanding of the mechanics of the Kessel Run illuminates this statistic. The Kessel Run is a contest of speed and endurance for smugglers. Those who undertake it must deliver specified cargos (usually illicit in nature) to a series of divergently moving transport vessels. The smuggler must deliver the cargo before the transports wander out of the free trade lanes into restricted Imperial space. Solo's record is impressive, since the transport vessels covered less than 12 parsecs of distance during his hurried run between them, a testament to his piloting and the speed of the Millennium Falcon. There is more than one way to smuggle spice out of Kessel. According to one tale, Solo left out the middleman and ferried the stolen goods himself, skirting dangerously close to the Maw Cluster, a baffling congregation of black holes. In doing so, he shortened the distance for the run, achieving an impressive record of under 12 parsecs.
4 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
warren writes:
Han tried to impress. Watch Kenobi's face after he says it.
2 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Baron Fel writes:
Yeah, Virus_boy is right, hyperspace is a way around the speed of light being a universal speed limit. And for the record, even though he made the Kessel run by going close to the black hole (the Maw cluser) he also dumped his cargo into it.
3 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Psyche writes:
Yeah, he shaved distance off the Kessel Run, not time. And remember, the Falcon goes faster than light. Point 5 past light speed, to be precise. Point 5 of what, no one knows.
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Timber writes:
Actually he would have saved time. The fastest way to get between two points is a straight line. There fore if everone had to go around the MAW cluster by a great deal, but Han flattened the curve into more of a straight line then he would have shaved off a certain amount of time by lowering the distance travelled. Mind you however that "time goes slower the faster you go" therefore even more time would have been saved by going (assumeably) .5x the speed of light.
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
dogg_lad writes:
Of course you must remember as well that the gravitational forces of the Maw (that's what the black hole is called) drastically alter flight paths anyway, bending ships flying near in a tight path around it. You have to be an extremely good pilot to pull this off without dying. This would be why Han is so proud of his achievement.
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Baythan writes:
All the arguments listed here are quite interesting...but the simple fact is this(and Geroge Lucas himself came up with this, check the Star Wars Databank under 'Kessel'): Han lied. Of course, books written after the movie came out have all explained away how he managed to cut the Kessel run down to 12 parsecs rather than... well.. whatever the record was previously. Ranging from "he cut REALLY close to the Maw Cluster, its a group of black holeS(not one, but MANY), and shortened the distance he had to travel." or "he flew a lot faster than most do, making the run in shorter time." And while all the arguments for the theory of relativity are nice...this is Star Wars...its Sci-Fi...we dont CARE about that stuff. Hyperspace breaks those rules anyway.
3 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Virus_Boy writes:
Just so you know, the Falcon moves at a speed quite a bit faster than Lightspeed. Otherwise, how would they be able to travel from planet to planet in an area from 30 minutes to 2 hours???
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Kelwen writes:
Yep. I conceed this point. After some research I uncovered this page which explains it all: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Station/4297/kes.html
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
eskovan writes:
Please people, this is Star Wars not 2001!
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
St3aLth writes:
Nice page Kelwen, I signed your guestbook. *g* (And no Kelwen, that was not a slip-up I just made, that was sarcasm, I know there is no guestbook, Did YOU know that? And by the way, we know that it is Distance, and not time, so what you keep saying make abosolutely NO SENSE)
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Artemis Raine writes:
Patrick, you're right about the line in "From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker", but it is on page 85, not 101. :-P
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
heeheecunnings writes:
Loosen up. This is sci-fi, you can get away with anything. (:
3 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
erithanis writes:
I hope you guys realized that the speed at which he travels is RELATIVE to the speed of light, he doesn't actually go that fast. If he did, the trip would take HIM two hours or whatever, but he'd get there after everyone else aged maybe several year. Einstein's theory of relativity. I obviously aren't using exact numbers, because i don't know the formula, just the idea, but you get the picture.
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Tom C. writes:
If you watch the movie Obi Wan winces after Han says this. some people choose to believe that this means that Obi Wan thinks that Han is recless, but I think that he just knows his measurments.
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Baythan writes:
Ok, first: PLAYSTNLVR, you are wrong, there is a planet kessel. Check out http://starwars.wikicities.com/wiki/Kessel for info on it. I could see it argued that it is not a _planet_ because is has trouble keeping an atmoshpere, but it does orbit a star. And second, for all of you quoting scientific theory and trying to say why the Star Wars universe can't exist... ITS _FICTION_ Real theories and laws of science do not apply. For morre errata on this, read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessel_Run which throws out a few more ideas. Simply stated, there are multiple possibilities: 1. Han Solo cut the distance that the 'Kessel Run' requires by flying really close to the Maw. 2. He was bragging and isn't the brightest bulb on the tree, thus mistaking a parsec for a unit of time, or just trying to make himself and the [i]Falcon[/i] sound good. 3. Lucas made a mistake in writing the word parsec into the script. 4. Ford made a mistake in SAYING the word parsec, and the editors made a mistake in not fixing it. So really... someone get a striaghtforward asnwer from George Lucas if you wqant the TRUTH, but please, stop quoting scientific theory... it doesnt apply.
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
nennius writes:
My own theory is that a Kessel is a unit of acceleration,so that reaching it in less than 12 parsecs means you have a fast ship. I would tell Lucas that Solo was boasting about the ship's speed, not the navigation.
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Elric_Kinslayer writes:
""Timber writes: Actually he would have saved time. The fastest way to get between two points is a straight line. "" Actually Timber I disagree with you on that,if we're talking Space Travel then the shortest distance ISN'T a straight line.It's to fold space so Point A and Point B meet. You can then transfer yourself to Point B without actually having moved anywhere;and then to unfold space behind you so Point A is back where it was originally. Easiest analogy is to draw two dots on an A4 piece of paper and try it. Fold-space is the shortest distance between two points.
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Kelwen writes:
Virus_boy, the Millenium Falcon can reach light speed, but if we are talking 12 parsecs here, then even it would take approximately 49 years and 30 days! Even then time dilation once it came out of hyperspace would mean that although the journey took Han about 50 years, everything else would have aged by many, many times more than that. But let's not get too deeply into that one, hey?
3 of 7 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
PLAYSTNLVR writes:
Virus_Boy> You do realize that there isn't REALLY a planet Kessel, don't you?
3 of 7 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Pie is good writes:
This takes place in a galaxay far far away. They can make measurements whatever the hell they want. Just because a parsec is a physical measurement for us on earth dosen't mean it can't be a measure of time in the star wars universe.
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Pyro writes:
In a galaxy where people wear pantyhose on their heads (joke), and where sound can be heard in space, mixing up units of measure is the least of their worries.
2 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
schmeisses writes:
all these things are well explained in the "star wars roleplaying game". in the star wars universe any object big enough has a "mass shadow" in hyperspace so you cant fly "through a black hole" or even a big asteroid, there are known trade routes that are clean enough for interstellar traffic and travel and other routes of very differing danger used by smugglers and other "grey zone" guys. so the course one has to plot before he goes to hyperspace in star wars has to go AROUND dangerous objects or in the case of Kessel you have to use the gravitational anomalities created by a bunch of black holes to use the routes they create when they interact. (dont ask me how it comes that you dont have just one big black hole :) ::: the other thing are the .5 light speed: its simple ... for example a star destroyer has got a military class ONE hyperdrive so it needs from point A to point B exactly X minutes, so perhaps a freighter of a big company has a common class TWO drive so it heeds the double time to get there and and a class three drive ship needs 3 times x to get there and so on, and our friend Han Solo has a highly modified class 0.5 drive (think of a tuned V8 machine in a ford mustang) so the Falcon needs HALF the time a front class imperial battleship needs to get from A to B ... i hope its understandable :)) :::::: and PS: it needs DAYS and HOURS from one system to another in hyperspace ... and a bit longer in normal space ;) (what brings us to the "out of the star destroyer in the HOTH system and to BESPIN in a completely other starsystem without a functioning hyperdrive ..." situation)
2 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
seph78 writes:
How is this a slip-up? He wasn't referring to measurements, but time. Just like we say "it took my less than five minutes" or what ever.
2 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Patrick writes:
The term 'parsec' in the movie was a 'slipup' by either the screen writers, director, or Harrison Ford. The book clearly states,"It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve standard timeparts!" Check it out on page 101 of 'Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker', printed by Del Rey.
2 of 7 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes


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