The name parsec stands for "parallax of one second of arc", and allows calculating distances to nearby stars using simple observation and trigonometric parallax (apparent motion of an object due to change of position of the observer). It is one of the oldest Terran methods for measuring the distances to stars. A parsec is based on a baseline of 1 Astronomical Unit.
Modern Imperial usage bases the parsec on the value of pi (3.142) times light-years or 198,738 Astronomical Units, a concept adopted following the Solomani Rim War to avoid the use of specifically Terranocentric metrics. For convenience and simplicity this value is generally rounded to 200,000 AU.
- By coincidence this distance is very close to the maximum distance a Jump-1 drive can jump.
- Because of this, 'parsec' has become the standard word used for this distance within the Imperium.
- Other races, using the orbital distance of their home world and different definitions of an arc second would derive different values for a parsec, but these wouldn't be Imperial parsecs.
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