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A parsec is an astronomical measure of length that stands for "parallax arc-second". It is based on the Earth method of measuring interstellar distances using trigonometry. A star located one parsec away from an observer would have a "parallax angle" of one arc-second.

Based on this, one parsec is exactly equal to 360 × 60 × 60 / 2π AU (206,264.8 AU or ~3.26 light years).

Comparative list of lengths Edit

Each of the following gives a conversion to IAU light years, with appropriate use of significant digits.

2.2 milliparsecs ≈ 0.0072 light years, or 455.326 AU.
1/16 parsec ≈ 0.2 light years.
0.5 parsec ≈ 1.6 light years.
  • The Enterprise-D was supposedly thrown 0.54 parsecs from their position near the Paxans' homeworld. (TNG: "Clues")
0.54 parsecs ≈ 1.76 light years.
1 parsec ≈ 3.2 light years.
1.4 parsecs ≈ 4.6 light years.
2.3 parsecs ≈ 7.5 light years.
2.72 parsecs ≈ 8.87 light years.
5 parsecs ≈ 16.308 light years.
20 parsecs ≈ 65.231 light years.
22.3 parsecs ≈ 72.7 light years.
23 parsecs ≈ 75 light years.
100 parsecs ≈ 326 light years.
  • The unexplored region where the Metrons stopped the Enterprise and the Gorn ship occupied 1,000 cubic parsecs. The Metrons later hurled Enterprise 500 parsecs distant. (TOS: "Arena")
1,000 cubic parsecs ≈ 34.7 thousand cubic light years.
500 parsecs ≈ 1.63 thousand light years.
5,000 parsecs ≈ 16.308 thousand light years.
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A parsec is more exactly defined than a light year, since the length of the latter is dependent on the length of the year being used. For example, the IAU uses a Julian year of 365.25 days, while other sources may use a Gregorian year of 365.2425 days, or even some other definition of year.

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