# Thread: The Kessel Run

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I just got my copy today and am only a few chapters in, but want to comment on Han Solo making the Kessel Run "in under 12 parsecs".

In one of the books, I think it was the first book of the Jedi Academy trilogy, they reveal some details of the Kessel run. I am going to do my best to remember what it is, but it has been a long time since I read it so there may be other readers here who correct/clarify the story.

There story goes that there is a black hole cluster that you must navigate to get to Kessel (okay, I am sure the stabilty of a planet in a black hole cluster where they are spaced close enough to make it difficult to navigate is a whole other story!) Han was running spice and dumped it as he was about to be boarded. He went back to pick it up and the imperials followed him. He cut it darn close to the black holes, the imperials fell in and he blasted free into hyperspace.

The idea is that if you keep a safe distance from the black holes, the distance you must navigate through the cluster is substantially longer than 12 parsecs. So making the Kessel run in 12 parsecs means you ran through there without getting sucked into a black hole, taking a shortcut.

I seem to remember Han knew he was pretty darn lucky even though he bragged about it.

So, that is the story. I saw Phil's page on it and agree that is sounds like a fix of a astronomy boo boo.

As for them using a unit based on Earth's orbit, any planet can use that mesaure...with Jupiter's larger orbit, a parsec as measured by someone near Jupiter, using the same def, would be the same as a parsec from Earth.

The real question is why are they also using seconds as a measure of angle?

Okay, I am rambling now so I will stop [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Rob

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Dear Hale_Bopp,
I don't know why. Possibly, after 6,000 years, the Sumerian arc measure is imprinted on Human neurons. Do you have a suggestion of what measure to use, if not seconds?

On 2002-03-18 21:53, Hale_Bopp wrote:
So, that is the story. I saw Phil's page on it and agree that is sounds like a fix of a astronomy boo boo.
That's probably exactly it. When I first saw the movie, I thought they were just giving the impression of a boastful blowhard.

OTOH, we can measure anything in other units--the mass of the Sun is 1.4 kilometers, right?

4. On 2002-03-18 21:53, Hale_Bopp wrote:
As for them using a unit based on Earth's orbit, any planet can use that mesaure...with Jupiter's larger orbit, a parsec as measured by someone near Jupiter, using the same def, would be the same as a parsec from Earth.
A parsce is defined as the distance such that the parallax of an object at that distance is one arcsecond. It depends on the size of the parallax base distance; the Earth's orbit. If we move to Jupiter, that baseline is much larger, so the parallax is much larger. A parsec, then, using Jupiter's orbit, would be much smaller than the one using the Earth's orbit. If I am doing this correctly, it would be 5 times smaller, since Jupiter orbits at 5 AU from the Sun.

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Ooops! I forgot the word not! Obviously, a parsec measured from Jupiter would be different than a parsec measured from Earth...that was the point...maybe their parsecs are different than ours.

So, BaDad, I guess a logical different choice would be to decimalize...100 degrees, each degree contains 100 minutes, each minute 100 seconds would be a possibility. Of course, this all assumes they have 10 fingers in the first place and developed base 10.

I think it will be interesting, should we ever make interstellar contact, to see just what units others have evolved!

Rob

6. The problem with this solution to Han's mistake is the context of the conversation, which (IIRC) went something like this:

Kenobi: . . . if it's a fast ship.

Solo: "Fast ship?" You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon?

Kenobi: Should I have?

Solo: It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. She's fast enough for you, old man.

Since the conversation was specifically about the speed of the ship itself, it doesn't make sense to say Han was boasting about his personal piloting skills.

I've heard that Lucas says it was intended to show that Han's the type of guy who talks without knowing what he's talking about, but I think that's just Lucas trying to cover his own mistake . . . [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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Kenobi: . . . if it's a fast ship.

Solo: "Fast ship?" You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon?

Kenobi: Should I have?

Solo: It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. She's fast enough for you, old man.
I would like to propose an alternate solution: The Star Wars films are documentaries, filmed by pro-rebellion journalists who followed the exploits of a rebel group (much like the FARC, now that I think about it). Thus, these films are 1) rabidly pro-rebellion, demonizing the current administration; and 2) THEY ARE NOT ORIGINALLY IN ENGLISH. They were translated into English, and this "parsec" difficulty is merely a mistranslation. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]

8. On 2002-03-19 08:35, SeanF wrote:
I've heard that Lucas says it was intended to show that Han's the type of guy who talks without knowing what he's talking about, but I think that's just Lucas trying to cover his own mistake . . .
No, I'm pretty sure that's it. Even if they didn't know what a parsec was, it could have been anything--a microsecond, for all they knew. They just threw it in there, as Lucas seems to claim.

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On 2002-03-19 09:36, odysseus0101 wrote:

I would like to propose an alternate solution: The Star Wars films are documentaries, filmed by pro-rebellion journalists who followed the exploits of a rebel group (much like the FARC, now that I think about it). Thus, these films are 1) rabidly pro-rebellion, demonizing the current administration; and 2) THEY ARE NOT ORIGINALLY IN ENGLISH. They were translated into English, and this "parsec" difficulty is merely a mistranslation. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]
Ala Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun"?
[img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif[/img]

And that's 1.377 km.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Wiley on 2002-03-19 12:28 ]</font>

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I would like to propose an alternate solution: The Star Wars films are documentaries, filmed by pro-rebellion journalists who followed the exploits of a rebel group (much like the FARC, now that I think about it). Thus, these films are 1) rabidly pro-rebellion, demonizing the current administration; and 2) THEY ARE NOT ORIGINALLY IN ENGLISH. They were translated into English, and this "parsec" difficulty is merely a mistranslation. [img]/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]
Quite... As a matter of fact, in non pro-rebel writings, Palpatine is called "Emperor Palpatine the merciful" and Darth Vader is "Lord Vader the just".

Similarly we have Luke Skywalker the crooked, Obi-Wan Kenobi the wicked and Han Solo the Tyrant.

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## The Kessel run

It would help if you knew what the Kessel run was before you start saying that the use of parsec is incorrect.

As taken from the SW databank
http://www.starwars.com/community/as...c20020221.html

While Captain Solo is known to make boastful claims that seem to defy the basic laws of space-time physics, in this particular case, an understanding of the mechanics of the Kessel Run illuminates this statistic.

The Kessel Run is a contest of speed and endurance for smugglers. Those who undertake it must deliver specified cargos (usually illicit in nature) to a series of divergently moving transport vessels. The smuggler must deliver the cargo before the transports wander out of the free trade lanes into restricted Imperial space.

Solo's record is impressive, since the transport vessels covered less than 12 parsecs of distance during his hurried run between them, a testament to his piloting and the speed of the Millennium Falcon.

12. That's kind of a stretch, since it's a meaningless comparison unless the transport vessels are moving at exactly the same speed for each attempt.

13. Welcome to the board ultra. The parsec quote was a mistake, either when the script was written or a mistake by Han who was boasting without realizing what he was saying. There were later attempts by the SW community to 'fix' the mistake.

14. Ut
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ultra, take a gander at SeanF's post on the issue. I think it concisely explains why it's an obvious blunder to use the word parsec in the given context.

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Well, unless you can read George Lucas' mind, how do you know it was a mistake? You cannot say it was a mistake since you don't know what the Kessel run is, or how an efficient run is measured. People just assumed it's a race and therefore assumed that it must be measured in time, rather than distance.

Considering that the Kessel Run was never referred to as a time measured race in any books or movies, how can you be so sure it was a mistake? The only explaination of the Kessel Run we have to go by is the description given by Lucas. And by that description, parsec is indeed the proper unit of measure.

"it's a meaningless comparison unless the transport vessels are moving at exactly the same speed for each attempt"

They are, the Kessel Run is a contest.

16. Ut
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It's either a mistake by Lucas, or a mistake by the Solo character. Both concepts have been considered. Have you read the tread at all? Or are you just getting indignant for the sake of being indignant?

Originally Posted by SeanF
The problem with this solution to Han's mistake is the context of the conversation, which (IIRC) went something like this:

Kenobi: . . . if it's a fast ship.

Solo: "Fast ship?" You've never heard of the Millenium Falcon?

Kenobi: Should I have?

Solo: It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. She's fast enough for you, old man.

Since the conversation was specifically about the speed of the ship itself, it doesn't make sense to say Han was boasting about his personal piloting skills.
So either Solo is talking jibberish, or he's trying to convince someone he thinks may be ignorant that his ship is something it may not be.

17. Originally Posted by ultra
Well, unless you can read George Lucas' mind, how do you know it was a mistake? You cannot say it was a mistake since you don't know what the Kessel run is, or how an efficient run is measured. People just assumed it's a race and therefore assumed that it must be measured in time, rather than distance.
From the Official Star Wars site, the same site you've been getting your information from. Here is the last paragraph of that page (emphasis mine):
Of course, the simplest solution is the one favored by George Lucas, and the one that appeared in the screenplay for A New Hope. Han's boast was nothing more than a lie, meant to hoodwink provincial customers. Obi-Wan's knowing glance suggests he saw right through Solo's meaningless bragging.

18. Originally Posted by ultra
"it's a meaningless comparison unless the transport vessels are moving at exactly the same speed for each attempt"

They are, the Kessel Run is a contest.
So you're telling me that smugglers hold carefully planned contests that happen at a particular time and a particular place and involve the actual transportation of illegal goods? How realistic is this? How long do you think it would take the authorities to figure this out? Why would they bother?

It's about as believable as trying to convince me that drug runners have a contest to see how fast they can get cocaine from Colombia to Florida, with the restriction that you have to use the exact same starting point, route, and ending point each time, plus you have to announce your attempt to independent parties so it can be properly timed.

It's not going to happen: these guys are businessmen, not recreationists. They're not going to waste time competing for anything other than their customers' money, and they're not going to risk their livelihood in such a pointless and risky way.

19. We discussed this Kessel run thing in a thread last year, here is a portion of one of my posts with a further source:

This Star Wars FAQ reports that the 'Han Solo boasting' explanation was also given by Marvel Comics in an issue of their SW comic after Marvel consulted with Lucas.

I also found another website whose author said that he personally saw a TV interview where Lucas admits it was a mistake but I won't link to it as I don't find it as credible.

20. Originally Posted by Mr. X
I would like to propose an alternate solution: The Star Wars films are documentaries, filmed by pro-rebellion journalists who followed the exploits of a rebel group (much like the FARC, now that I think about it). Thus, these films are 1) rabidly pro-rebellion, demonizing the current administration; and 2) THEY ARE NOT ORIGINALLY IN ENGLISH. They were translated into English, and this "parsec" difficulty is merely a mistranslation. &lt;IMG SRC="/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif">
Quite... As a matter of fact, in non pro-rebel writings, Palpatine is called "Emperor Palpatine the merciful" and Darth Vader is "Lord Vader the just".

Similarly we have Luke Skywalker the crooked, Obi-Wan Kenobi the wicked and Han Solo the Tyrant.

As an Imperial Intelligence Officer, I can categorically say this is incorrect. [-X

The Terrorist group known as the "Rebel Alliance" has no Tyrants, but rather murderers and thieves. The criminal and self-proclaimed "Jedi", Luke Skywalker is wanted on charges for the murders of over one million loyal Imperial subjects who were merely going about their lawful and peaceful business when the Terrorist group struck, destroying the base they were on, including Grand Moff Tarkin who was attempting to negotiate a peaceful settlement at the time of the attack. He is also wanted in the assassinations of the Emperor and the last true Jedi, Lord Vader while they were attempting to start peace talks with the Rebel leaders after the Rebels attacked and hijacked a planetary mining platform over Endor and threatened to use it on populated planets.

Also wanted for involvement in the strategic planning of these crimes is the exiled Princess of Alderaan, Leia Organa. Her crimes also include Murder, High Treason against the Empire, Spying and Sedition.

The smuggler known as Han Solo is a wanted criminal on his home world of Corellia, a current fugitive of justice from CorSec. On top of that he has a number of outstanding warrants for smuggling, murder and theft. He is also wanted in connection with the death of the crime lord Jabba the Hutt and the disappearance of Bounty Hunter Bobba Fett. His co-pilot and a run-away slave, the Wookie Chewbacca is also wanted on similar charges.

These are not the only well known criminals in this organisation, and the Political Wing of the organisation, the "New Republic." Others include the ex-Imperial Senator Mon Mothma wanted on Treason and Sedition charges. The self-proclaimed Admiral Akbar for spying, conspiracy-to-murder, attempted assassination and high treason. Corran Horn, ex-CorSec and self proclaimed "Jedi", wanted on Corellia for the murder of twelve smugglers, currently has a number of Death Marks on his head. Also Wedge Antilles. Wanted for questioning about the involvement in the deaths of his parents as well as the Murders of over three million Imperials, including those executed by the hijackers of the Planet Miner at Endor.

As you can see the list of crimes and atrocities of this group goes on and on. Millions have died because of them and their supporters, including the entire population of the planet Alderaan, which was destroyed when a weapon they attempted to use against Grand Moff Tarkin, backfired.

These "Star Wars" movies are nothing more the political propaganda filled with lies and distortions of the true situation. I can merely hope that many of this planet will see through its mistruths as you all have, and uncover the truth before you to fall victim to these treacherous people.

May the peace of the Emperor be with you all.

21. Originally Posted by PhantomWolf
May the peace of the Emperor be with you all.
"Peace of the Emperor" has an ominous tone to it, along the lines of "eternal peace."

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## Distance not time

Originally Posted by Hale_Bopp
I just got my copy today and am only a few chapters in, but want to comment on Han Solo making the Kessel Run "in under 12 parsecs".
Isnt the issue here tha a parsec is not a measure of time, it is a measure of distance?

23. ## Re: The Kessel Run

Originally Posted by ultra
Well, unless you can read George Lucas' mind, how do you know it was a mistake? You cannot say it was a mistake since you don't know what the Kessel run is, or how an efficient run is measured. People just assumed it's a race and therefore assumed that it must be measured in time, rather than distance.

Considering that the Kessel Run was never referred to as a time measured race in any books or movies, how can you be so sure it was a mistake? The only explaination of the Kessel Run we have to go by is the description given by Lucas. And by that description, parsec is indeed the proper unit of measure.

"it's a meaningless comparison unless the transport vessels are moving at exactly the same speed for each attempt"

They are, the Kessel Run is a contest.
Well, the conclusion is that George Lucas makes no mistakes in his scripts. I think we already knew that.

But, why does the word "ewok" suddenly come to mind? 8)

24. ## Re: Distance not time

Originally Posted by xpat
Originally Posted by Hale_Bopp
I just got my copy today and am only a few chapters in, but want to comment on Han Solo making the Kessel Run "in under 12 parsecs".
Isnt the issue here tha a parsec is not a measure of time, it is a measure of distance?
Welcome to the board, xpat!

Good point, more specifically a measure of speed/velocity versus distance.

Since the characters employed English throughout (except for a few translated passages), and all other terms were used in their normal English meanings, parsec should not be exempt. It's a measure of distance. But in the context of the script it's used as a measure of speed/velocity. 8)

Ewoks! #-o

25. Ut
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## Re: The Kessel Run

Originally Posted by Maksutov
Well, the conclusion is that George Lucas makes no mistakes in his scripts. I think we already knew that.

But, why does the word "ewok" suddenly come to mind? 8)
Jar Jar
Darth Vader the Annoying Know-it-all 5 Year Old
Darth Vader the Whiny
Making movies with only 3 non-animated characters...

Huzzah for movie making perfection!

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Originally Posted by ToSeek
Originally Posted by ultra
"it's a meaningless comparison unless the transport vessels are moving at exactly the same speed for each attempt"

They are, the Kessel Run is a contest.
So you're telling me that smugglers hold carefully planned contests that happen at a particular time and a particular place and involve the actual transportation of illegal goods? How realistic is this? How long do you think it would take the authorities to figure this out? Why would they bother?...
They are outside of Imperial Space as Ultra stated. Does that mean it legal until they enter Imperial Space?

...The smuggler must deliver the cargo before the transports wander out of the free trade lanes into restricted Imperial space.

27. And the Empire is going to respect the boundaries of "Imperial Space" in order to benefit arms-runners? Still seems like a stretch to me.

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## Defence of Han Solo

According to the Han Solo Trilogy (I think it's the third book, Rebel Dawn), the Kessel Run involves smuggling glitterstim spice (a drug) off the prison planet of Kessel, where it is mined. Because of the proximity of the black hole cluster, the Maw, it's impossible to go to hyperspace directly after picking up the cargo. So to evade imperial forces, it's necessary to navigate first of all a black hole cluster (following a fixed pattern), and then an asteroid field (which constantly moves, and must be piloted by hand).

The speed of a ship in navigating the asteroid field would be correlated to the distance it covers during this portion of the Run. A slow ship would have to manoeuvre out of course more frequently to avoid collisions, whereas a fast ship could skim and evade fast-moving asteroids and cut a more-or-less straight course through the asteroid field, as its speed would allow it to manoeuvre swiftly around oncoming asteroids rather than avoid them in a more roundabout way. In other words, the shorter the distance travelled, the quicker the ship.

The speed of the Millennium Falcon is in any case verified in other settings; it is termed "the fastest ship in the [Rebel] fleet" in Return of the Jedi and a similar claim is made by General Riekaan in the Empire Strikes Back radio production.

BTW someone on here should surely know whether it is possible for the Maw to have an imperial installation at its centre, as is claimed in the Jedi Academy trilogy. My guess is "no".

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There's a big difference between fast and quick. You can be slow and manouverable, quick (fast and manouverable), fast but uncontrollable, or slow and uncontrollable.

The asteroids in the field have to be bound by something, either by the gravity of a massive central body, or by mutual gravitational attraction. Either way, they'll have a maximum top speed before they escape the field and are no longer to be worried about.

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## quick would seem to be the idea...

Since the point is that the Falcon can evade imperial ships and the boasting also contained claims such as "I've outrun imperial starships", the point is that the Falcon is fast AND manoeuvrable.

I don't think it's ever been established why the asteroid field on the far side of the Maw is there. It says in the Hutt Gambit - where the Kessel run is outlined - that the asteroid field, known as the Pit, is a large and sparse field of asteroids "encased inside the wispy arm of a nebula... [T]here was always the chance that when a pilot zigged to avoid one asteroid, he'd zag right into another' (90).

In Rebel Dawn it's suggested that Han flew faster through the Maw than he should have done as well - presumably again, shaving closer to the black holes than would be usual, thus also cutting the distance (p. 362-3).
On one occasion he was "sheering so close that the engines strained in protest" (363).

My theory regarding the relationship between speed and distance is confirmed in the book:
"Han's eyes narrowed. 'Hey, this is weird', he said. 'It says we actually shortened the *distance* we travelled, not just the time. Less than twelve parsecs!'" (Rebel Dawn p. 370)

Although it's apparently not the Pit but the Maw which is the problem: the cost in distance, and thus in fuel and time, increases the further one loops around the Maw to avoid the black holes (The Hutt Gambit p. 91).

The shorter the distance, the closer the ship has shaved black holes and asteroids. Thus, the boast is about the speed AND manoeuvrability of the Falcon - although Chewbacca apparently suspects that the boast is based on faulty measuring equipment on the Falcon, a suspicion Obi-Wan would probably have picked up through the Force.

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