“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“Just 39 light years?” Why it must be just around the corner. Gliese 1132b: Astronomers find a super-Earth that may have a watery atmosphere, just 39 light-years away – LA Times

39 light years, for people who don’t understand astronomical distances (like the person that came up with this headline), is a really long way.

Light travels at approximately 300,000,000 meters per second. So 1 light year is 9.461 X 1015 meters or about 5.879 trillion miles. Times 39. And you use the word “just.”

This planet is 229.3 trillion miles away. A little less than 12 parsecs. (Notable because Han Solo referenced that number in Star Wars: A New Hope.) Or for those of us who prefer to use scientific notation for science, 3.69 X 1017 meters.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on ““You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  1. Yes, Han Solo did use the word “parsec” … but he used it incorrectly. (Or rather, the script writers got it wrong.) He used it as a measure of TIME, not Distance. As in: “I made the trip from A to B in only X parsecs”.

  2. First it was “a to b in 12 parsecs” and I think it was supposed to be Han trying pull something over on locals. (If you watch the scene pay attention to the looks Luke and Obi Wan give Han after that statement.)

Comments are closed.