What does PARSEC mean?

Definitions for PARSEC

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word PARSEC.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. parsec, secparnoun

    a unit of astronomical length based on the distance from Earth at which stellar parallax is 1 second of arc; equivalent to 3.262 light years


  1. parsecnoun

    A unit of length used in describing astronomical distances, equal to 3.26 light years, or 3.086 x 1013 km. Abbreviated pc. The derived units of kiloparsec (kpc, 1000 parsecs) and megaparsec (mpc, one million parsecs) are often found in discussion of astronomical distances.


  1. parsecnoun

    parallax second

  2. Etymology: Contraction of parallax second.


  1. Parsec

    The parsec (symbol: pc) is a unit of length used to measure the large distances to astronomical objects outside the Solar System, approximately equal to 3.26 light-years or 206,265 astronomical units (au), i.e. 30.9 trillion kilometres (19.2 trillion miles). The parsec unit is obtained by the use of parallax and trigonometry, and is defined as the distance at which 1 au subtends an angle of one arcsecond (1/3600 of a degree). This corresponds to 648000/π astronomical units, i.e. 1 p c = 1 a u / tan ⁡ ( 1 a r c s e c ) {\displaystyle 1\,\mathrm {pc} =1~\mathrm {au} /\tan \left({1}\ \mathrm {arcsec} \right)} . The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is about 1.3 parsecs (4.2 light-years) from the Sun. Most stars visible to the naked eye are within a few hundred parsecs of the Sun, with the most distant at a few thousand.The word parsec is a portmanteau of "parallax of one second" and was coined by the British astronomer Herbert Hall Turner in 1913 to make calculations of astronomical distances from only raw observational data easy for astronomers. Partly for this reason, it is the unit preferred in astronomy and astrophysics, though the light-year remains prominent in popular science texts and common usage. Although parsecs are used for the shorter distances within the Milky Way, multiples of parsecs are required for the larger scales in the universe, including kiloparsecs (kpc) for the more distant objects within and around the Milky Way, megaparsecs (Mpc) for mid-distance galaxies, and gigaparsecs (Gpc) for many quasars and the most distant galaxies. In August 2015, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) passed Resolution B2 which, as part of the definition of a standardized absolute and apparent bolometric magnitude scale, mentioned an existing explicit definition of the parsec as exactly 648000/π au, or approximately 30.856775814913673×1015 metres (based on the IAU 2012 exact SI definition of the astronomical unit). This corresponds to the small-angle definition of the parsec found in many astronomical references.


  1. parsec

    A parsec is a unit of length used to measure the large distances to astronomical objects outside the solar system. It is approximately equal to 3.26 light years or 3.086 × 10^16 meters. The term parsec is derived from the parallax of one arcsecond.


  1. Parsec

    The parsec is a unit of length used in astronomy, equal to about 30.9 trillion kilometres or 3.26 light-years. The name parsec is "an abbreviated form of 'a distance corresponding to a parallax of one arcsecond'." It was coined in 1913 at the suggestion of British astronomer Herbert Hall Turner. A parsec is the distance from the Sun to an astronomical object which has a parallax angle of one arcsecond. In other words, imagine that a straight line is drawn from the object to the Earth, a second line is drawn from the Earth to the Sun, and a third line is drawn from the object to the Sun that is perpendicular to the line drawn from the Earth to the Sun. Now, if the angle formed between the line drawn from the object to the Earth and the line drawn from the object to the Sun is exactly one arcsecond, then the object's distance from the Sun would be exactly one parsec. The angle can be measured by observing the object's precise location in the sky. It becomes quite convenient for astronomers to determine the object's distance by simply measuring its apparent motion in the sky over a 6-month interval. After six months, the Earth is at the opposite end of its orbit around the Sun, a distance equal to twice the base of the right triangle described above. In this case, the object's distance in parsecs is numerically equal to the reciprocal of half the number of arcseconds by which its position appears to change. The less an object appears to have moved, the farther it is from the Sun, and vice versa.

Matched Categories

Anagrams for PARSEC »

  1. capers

  2. Casper

  3. crapes

  4. escarp

  5. e-scrap

  6. Pacers

  7. pacers

  8. recaps

  9. scrape

  10. spacer

  11. secpar

How to pronounce PARSEC?

How to say PARSEC in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of PARSEC in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of PARSEC in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

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"PARSEC." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 30 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/PARSEC>.

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    lacking in nutritive value
    • A. jejune
    • B. lacerate
    • C. splay
    • D. sesquipedalian

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