Udate: Han Solo’s Kessel Run is the focus of Solo: A Star Wars Storry. However, throughout the entire film, they never really explain what a parsec really is. Had I not already been elbow deep in parsac research I would have still been confused. Regardless, the Kessel run and how it relates to parsecs is still misleading.
As crazy as it sounds, I willing went to watch Star Wars I in 3D, Afterwards, I went home to watch the rest of the series. It had been a while since I have watched the complete series, and I decided to look some things up as I watched. The things I learned disturbed, and I wish I could un-learn them. But since I can’t, I am going to ruin it for every other casual Star Wars fan (like myself)! Let me tell you what I have now learned about Han Solo, the Millennium Falcon, and the 12 Parsec Kessel Run.
What is a Parsec, and what does it have to do with the Kessel Run?
“ You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? … It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.” -Han Solo’s Kessel Run quote
I’m sure you remember Han Solo spouting this off to Skywalker trying to express the speed of his ship. Sounds fast right? By now you are probably wondering “how fast is a parsec” but instead, you should be asking yourself, WHAT is a parsec.
Guess what, Mr. Solo has deceived you. Don’t feel bad, that nerf herder got me too. This is the quote that got me started researching the Star Wars shenanigans. I was hoping to find out exactly, how fast is one parsec? What I learned instead was disturbing.
Parsecs: Time or Distance?
Get this, a parsec doesn’t measure time at all! A parsec is a measure of distance! This means that all Han Solo had to do was take the Millennium Falcon on a shortcut to make the Kessel Run in 12-Parsecs. The Millennium Flacon’s Kessel Run is all a big sham!
Now I’m thinking, “Hold up a minute, how did he make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs if a parsec doesn’t even measure time! If a parsec measures distance, shouldn’t the Kessel Run be a set number of parsecs?!?”
According to Wookipedia, the Kessel run is in fact, 18 parsecs:
The Kessel Run was an 18-parsec route used by smugglers to move glitterstim spice from Kessel to an area south of the Si’Klaata Cluster without getting caught by the Imperial ships that were guarding the movement of spice from Kessel’s mines.
So how did Han shorten an 18 Parsec trip to only 12 parsecs? He cheated, that’s how! So not only is he a liar, he is a cheater!
Ok, so he isn’t really either. Wookipedia goes onto explain exactly how it is all possible. Apparently, the Kessel run borders a black hole that *most* ships can’t fly very close to. However, the speedy Millennium Falcon is able to fly closer than any other ship and make the run in only 12 parsecs.
It turns out that technically Han Solo didn’t lie about the speed of the Millennium Falcon, nor did he cheat on the Kessel run. Technicalities aside, I personally think that it was an after thought. I have no clue where Wookipedia got this information, nor do I care, but a Parsec should just be what is insinuated, a measure of SPEED!
How far is a Parsec
Now that we have determined that Han Solo is the biggest hype man in the galaxy, let’s discuss Parsecs further. How long is a Parsec exactly? No joke, a Parsec is a real scientific measurement. Seriously, look it up. It is used to measure astronomical units.
A parsec is the distance at which one astronomical unit subtends an angle of one arcsecond. One parsec is equal to about 3.26 light-years (31 trillion km or 19 trillion miles) in length. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is about 1.3 parsecs (4.2 light-years) from the Sun.
So there you have it folks, a Parsec is about 3.26 light-years. Any more questions?
Final thoughts on the 12 Parsec Kessel Run
Han Solo technically isn’t a liar, but I still feel that he has deceived me all of these years. He could have just told it like it was “Screw you kid, this ship is fast as hell.” There, see how easy that was? No questions as to how fast the Millenium Falcon is.
Now to address the Hardcore fans that are probably going to tear this post apart. I don’t care. This is how I see it. I didn’t read the books. I haven’t played the games. I don’t belong to any Star Wars porn sites. This was written straight from my interpretation of the films.