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Han Solo wasn't lying after all!


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Going to try my hand at Uber-geekiness here!

I'm sure we all know the famous foot-in-mouth part in Star Wars IV: A New Hope, where Han Solo says of the Millennium Falcon: "It's fast enough for you old man. It's the ship that made the Kessell run in less than 12 parsecs."

Well we, of course all know that a parsec is a unit of distance, and so George Lucas made a bit of an error here.

Or did he?

Whilst in a relativity lecture last month, we were introduced to the idea that time can be measured with units of distance, in fact this actually becomes necessary whilst calculating differences in the observations of time intervals by observers in differing inertial reference frames.

To turn time into a unit of distance, one uses the equation

Δτ = ct

where c is the speed of light and t is the time interval.

Well working backwards from this then, we can extrapolate that without lying a jot, Han Solo quite correctly stated, in Relativity Jargon, that he made the Kessell run in About 4.1 seconds.

Not too shabby, Han old buddy, not too shabby at all.

I'm now waiting patiently to be told how wrong this is!

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Going to try my hand at Uber-geekiness here! I'm sure we all know the famous foot-in-mouth part in Star Wars IV: A New Hope, where Han Solo says of the Millennium Falcon: "It's fast enough for you old

George Lucas has made many errors, starting with 2ft tall teddy bears. Han Solo however doesn't make errors. If he said he did it in 12 parsecs we're are just not yet smart enough to understand physic

Taurus excretus it won't get past.

If I'm honest I doubt Lucas was aware of this tool of special relativity, so it probably remains an error on his part :)

Posted via Tapatalk on an ageing iPhone so please excuse any erroneous spellings or accidental profanities!

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Perfectly reasonable argument.

Where speed of light in a vacuum is considered, distance and time can be used interchangeably as speed is a constant d/t - eg. one year = 9.4x10^15m, or 9.4x10^15m = one year ... In a similar way time is defined in terms of "oscillations of a cesium atom" (for want of a basic description!) so, theoretically, the distance to mercury could be specified simply as a pure number of oscillations of an atom!

AndyG

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If I'm honest I doubt Lucas was aware of this tool of special relativity, so it probably remains an error on his part :)

George Lucas has made many errors, starting with 2ft tall teddy bears.

Han Solo however doesn't make errors. If he said he did it in 12 parsecs we're are just not yet smart enough to understand physics that he could do in his sleep that explains how he managed to do it.

By coming up with a theory that explains him doing the Kessel Run in 4 parsec you are 1/3 as smart as Han. And that makes you 1/3 as cool as Han, which means you are 3 times cooler and smarter than everyone except Obi Wan. And that's not too shabby at all!

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Perfectly reasonable argument.

Where speed of light in a vacuum is considered, distance and time can be used interchangeably as speed is a constant d/t - eg. one year = 9.4x10^15m, or 9.4x10^15m = one year ... In a similar way time is defined in terms of "oscillations of a cesium atom" (for want of a basic description!) so, theoretically, the distance to mercury could be specified simply as a pure number of oscillations of an atom!

AndyG

I love relativity!

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I'll see your Kessel Run, and raise you one Endor Holocaust.

Not sure I'm too happy with this hypothesis - needs some thinking about.

Preliminary idea in my head says that the debris from the Death Star would continue to orbit at the same altitude as the undestroyed space station.

Will do some more thinking and report back :)

You can tell if I were in the Star Wars Universe I'd be employed by the Empire's Health, Safety and Environmental Bureau!

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Just goes to show - those of us who have had the opportunity to follow Sci-fi for a few decades already k ow that what was written in speculation has often come into general acceptance a few years later:p

Sent from my it900 using Tapatalk 2

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Just goes to show - those of us who have had the opportunity to follow Sci-fi for a few decades already k ow that what was written in speculation has often come into general acceptance a few years later:p

Hmm, I have a relativity text that was published in 1963, and that uses distance (metres) to measure time. :grin:

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Yup, it's pre-Einstein in equation form. The Lorentz transformation. So pre 1905!

Posted via Tapatalk on an ageing iPhone so please excuse any erroneous spellings or accidental profanities!

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Perfectly reasonable argument.

Where speed of light in a vacuum is considered, distance and time can be used interchangeably as speed is a constant d/t - eg. one year = 9.4x10^15m, or 9.4x10^15m = one year ... In a similar way time is defined in terms of "oscillations of a cesium atom" (for want of a basic description!) so, theoretically, the distance to mercury could be specified simply as a pure number of oscillations of an atom!

AndyG

However that statement is only true if you live on Earth and use meters as a distance measurement..If you lived in Mars then your year would be longer and your light year bigger, conversely if you lived on a planet at Venus's distance than your year and light year would be shorter...Relatively speaking...:D

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Aha - all explained here: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Kessel_Run (as posted above) - the falcon took a "short-cut" through a "black-hole cluster" which deformed time space so much the distance was less than the usual "as the crow flies" 12 Parsecs. A bit dim :eek: really - if you have hyper-drive and spend almost 40 years in normal space (less in subjective time if you are going quick) flying through a radiation-heavy "black hole cluster" to win a bet. First, whatever you are smuggling is likely to be out of fashion when it arrives ("Princess Lala - would you like some very Belgian nylons from Kessel?"). And second, the radiation could explain why Han (Solo) never tells anyone "I am your father" (unless those two-foot teddies were his offspring after the black-hole run).

P

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I'd have thought that George Lucas's greatest mistake was in making the Star Wars films. I'd rate them alongside The DaVinci Code as being the greatest triumph of nonsense over sense in recent human history.

Olly

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I'd have thought that George Lucas's greatest mistake was in making the Star Wars films. I'd rate them alongside The DaVinci Code as being the greatest triumph of nonsense over sense in recent human history.

Olly

It makes me sad to consider a world without Star Wars. When I was growing up, it was the best film in the world, and I make no apologies for still enjoying it - it's a great popcorn film. If you can ignore its flaws, it also has some genuine artistic merits. The

is the canonical example of economy of storytelling, and of special effects used narratively, rather than just for spectacle.

First there is the shot of the distant moons, which pans down to reveal the surface of an alien world. A fantastic spaceship zips into frame; it is immediately pursued by the immense star destroyer which, passing over the head of the observer, just keeps coming and coming. In a few seconds, the following is established:

- A sense of wonder is invoked, this is an alien world with its own history and possibilities.

- The overwhelming threat and power of the empire, which is central to the plot.

Cinema is all about immersion, films should be experienced first and analysed afterwards. The opening of Star Wars does a great job of sucking the audience into its world and encouraging them to suspend their critical faculties for the duration. (The very best films are both immersive and thought-provoking.) None of this is controversial, there are the reasons Star Wars is well respected within the world of cinema despite some cheesy dialogue and hokey acting.

No-one should ever have to apologise for disliking Star Wars - once suspension of disbelief is broken, all enjoyment goes out the window. But please understand, other people's viewing experiences do not necessarily match your own.

Now I'm going to flirt with controversy by offering a half-hearted defence of The Da Vinci Code. It's poorly written to the point of being laughable - here's an entertaining eviseration of just the opening page. As for the characters, well, that's not really the author's strong point. Yet despite these problems, it somehow makes for quite a satisfying page-turner - there are better books I've enjoyed much less, and it is a candidate for the worst book I actually like.

The real problems with The Da Vinci Code are, I think, that its success far outstrips its merits, and that a number of people go around actually believing the damn thing. Alternative history and conspiracy theories can make for entertaining fiction, but that's no reason to treat them seriously.

Incidentally, the worst book I've ever read is its sequel, The Lost Symbol, which treats science with the same respect he showed the history of Christianity in his breakthrough best-seller. I shudder to think what woo Dan Brown must have been reading while 'researching' it.

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You're not George Lucas in disguise are you? :p

Merely something of a Lucasian apologist. I'm prepared to make a half-hearted defence of Ewoks (ok, they look like care bears, but they are savage little tribal bleeders at heart), but I draw the line at the prequels.

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Funny, I always interpreted that statement to be in relation to the quality of the navigation computer. Han states that the Millennium Falcon will make .5 past light speed and then goes on to say it will make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. To me, given he has just stated the top speed, it is more to do with making the most accurate calculation of the shortest safe distance. This is further backed up when he mentions (when fleeing the empire) that "Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star, or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it" which seems to further support this line of reasoning.

So George Lucas did not error.....Or did he still?

A parsec is a pretty specific distance measurement that relates to the orbital distance of the Earth from the Sun, and distant an object needs to be to show a parallax angle of one arc second. So while it is not impossible that a planet in a galaxy, far, far away would share the same orbit as the Earth around the Sun, it is pretty unlikely. Silly Lucas.

Unless of course their parsec is just different to ours.

Time to take off my slightly geeky Star Wars hat now. The first 3 films were very important to me growing up, but I am not forgiving George for the 3 prequels. Or Indiana Jones 4. :grin:

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As humble thread starter, I have to unexpectedly leap in in defence of the prequels. Sure, they aren't the originals and sure, Jar-jar Binks really is an utter removed word, but they do a lovely job of showing up the technological development and subsequent wearing down of the universe in which they're set. They nicely weave in stories which remained unaddressed in the original three, and add some credit to the idea that Vader could at last be turned (I.e. he started out alright). Don't get me wrong I was fuming when the travesty that is the Phantom Menace first reached my eyes, but as the years go on and I return to the prequels with an ever more open mind, they do gradually improve. After all, SW, TESB and ROTJ were a blooming tough act to follow.

Posted via Tapatalk on an ageing iPhone so please excuse any erroneous spellings or accidental profanities!

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