200 parsecs from Earth is the Helix Nebula. In this Spitzer space telescope image explosive blue /green clouds fo gas and dust radiate from a central red dwarf star

What is a parsec? Definition and calculation

A parsec is a unit of distance that is often used by astronomers as an alternative to the light-year, just as kilometers can be used as an alternative to miles. Sci-fi franchises such as “Star Wars” have been known to misuse the word “parsec”, mistakenly describing it as a measurement of time or speed.

In fact, one parsec is approximately 3.26 light-years, or almost 19 trillion miles (31 trillion km), according to the California Institute of technology (opens in new tab) (Caltech). 

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