from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A unit of astronomical length based on the distance from Earth at which stellar parallax is one second of arc and equal to 3.258 light-years, 3.086 × 1013 kilometers, or 1.918 × 1013 miles.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. parallax second

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A unit of length used in describing astronomical distances, equal to 3.26 light years, or 3.086 x 1013 km. Abbreviated pc. The derived units of kiloparsec (kpc, 1000 parsecs) and megaparsec (mpc, one million parsecs) are often found in discussion of astronomical distances.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a unit of astronomical length based on the distance from Earth at which stellar parallax is 1 second of arc; equivalent to 3.262 light years


par(allax) + sec(ond)1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Contraction of parallax second. (Wiktionary)


  • Why, for example, does Han Solo boast about his ship's speed by saying that it can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs when a parsec is in fact a measurement of distance rather than time?

    Han Vs. Greedo: ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Supervising Director Dave Filoni Knows Who Shot First » MTV Movies Blog

  • A parsec is a unit of length in astronomy, approximately 3.262 light years in length.

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  • In astronomy, the preferred unit of measurement for such distances is the parsec, which is defined as the distance at which an object will appear to move one arcsecond of parallax when the observer moves one astronomical unit perpendicular to the line of sight to the observer.

    Ann Aguirre » Blog Archive » A day in the life – blog Jeopardy

  • A parsec is the distance equal to light traveling for 3.26 light years.

    Science Fiction or Science Fantasy: Who Ya Got? - Suvudu - Science Fiction and Fantasy Books, Movies, and Games

  • (A parsec is the average distance the Earth has from the Sun, 93 million miles).


  • To avoid this confusion, it's best to remember that the parsec is a fi xed unit, based on the distance to an object that generates a parallax of one arc second as viewed from two points 1 AU apart.

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  • You should hear those pious warmongers curse a blue streak a parsec wide! live in a fantasy world if you must perhaps you should save your indignation for * actual warcrimes & corruption*, not pouting that language doesn't live up to your fantastical expectations? garsh diddily darn, if there aren't people who think the RAPE of the World & its international citizenry by the United States InvestorClass is somehow the * LESSER CRIME* than the language of allegory … ah, but there we have censorship: where whinging is their only art form & only means to exert influence over others.

  • And the fact that you managed to work the word 'parsec' in there makes it even more fun.

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  • I'm sure it has a healthy audience of readers -- all those hard SF wonks who jeered when Han Solo used 'parsec' as a unit of time.

    It's the story, stupid!

  • The parsec is a unit of length, equal to just under 31 trillion kilometers (about

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  • I made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs!

    November 11, 2007

  • parallax arcsecond, thank god for abbreviations, though this one is fun to say.

    January 5, 2007