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A parsec was an astronomical measure of length that stood for "parallax arc-second". It was 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 was exactly equal to 360×60×60 / 2π AU (206,264.8 AU or ∼3.26 light years).

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.

In 2371, Neelix protested Dr. Ma'Bor Jetrel's request to examine him for metremia, saying he didn't want the doctor within ten parsecs of him. (VOY: "Jetrel")

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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