A Moment of Science

Hold on a Parsec

To those you who enjoy science fiction movies like Star Wars, you’ve probably heard the term parsec used quite often. It may come as a surprise to you to learn that a parsec is a real term; it comes from astronomy.   A parsec is a unit of distance.

One parsec is three point two six light years. And contrary to popular belief, a light year isn’t a unit of time at all! It’s also a unit of distance. In a vacuum, light travels one hundred eighty six thousand miles per second. And a light year is how far light travels in one year. More than. A parsec comes out to about nineteen trillion miles.

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