Cueball has added together all the runtimes of the Star Wars movies (episodes I-IX) and then calculated the exact time at which a message sent to Voyager 1 will have that exact duration in light speed delay. He announces this information to Megan and Beret Guy only seconds before it occurs, allowing him to signal the moment by saying "Now!"
Megan expresses surprise that the event isn't being celebrated with fireworks. Judgeing by the fact that she doesn't look up from her book suggests her surprise is insincere. Beret Guy breaks into song with the New Year's traditional "Auld Lang Syne."
This comic highlights a coincidental relationship between the Star Wars Episodes and the NASA Space Probe "Voyager 1". It is in theme because it is a particularly dorky pair of items in the relationship.
The Star Wars Episodes, the first of which was released on 27th December 1977, and the last of which was released 42 years later on 19th December 2019, began only a few months after Voyager 1 was launched on 5th September 1977. 42 years later, it is as of the date of this comic being published 148.68 AU from Earth, which is approximately 20.6 light hours away. Given that the last episode in the entire series was released only weeks before, and it brings up the total viewing time to 20.6 hours (not including Solo and Rogue One), it is an odd (and very dorky) coincidence that cueball saw significant enough to mark with a timer and acknowledgement to Megan and Beret Guy. As expected, Megan responds sarcastically at the dorkiness of what cueball did, but Beret Guy plays along.
- Rate of increase
Given that the first Star Wars movie and Voyager I were "released" around the same time, and that over the years Voyager has been getting further away while more Star Wars movies have been realeased, I wonder how often the time it takes for a message to reach Voyager I has been exactly the same as the total runtime of Star Wars movies at that date. Like, how far away was Voyager when Revenge of the Sith was released? This would make for an interesting graph.
RANDALL CAN YOU HEAR ME? MAKE A GRAPH PLS -- Alcatraz ii (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Yes that could be interesting actually. Sadly I believe Randall keeps clear of such sites as this so he will not see you request. Remember to sign your comments, and try not to add new sections in the comments. --Kynde (talk) 08:31, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- After I made the table... If someone find out how long Voyager was away on the release of episode number 2-8 then we can easily make the graph our selves to find out how many times it has happened. For sure it must have occurred between film 3 and 4. And probably again between 6 and 7? --Kynde (talk) 13:46, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
How accurately is the position of Voyager I known? I think this comic came out earlier in the day than usual, and I found myself wondering if there's public data precise enough to calculate this momentous occasion to within an hour, or even a minute. Angel (talk) 10:18, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- I believe this is known extremely precise since we are still in radio contact with it. But for sure there should be a link. Given the title text I think it is not important when it was released. Just a few seconds extra will add long time to Voyagers travel. That time should also be part of the final explanation. As what the possible longest time all episodes could reach given the longest possible calculation of the total time. --Kynde (talk) 10:32, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- Link here: Mission status. Although I'm not sure an historic view of this data exists anywhere... Jotomicron (talk) 10:49, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- Thanks great. I have added a screen shot of the light distance today to the explanation along with the link. I have written most of the explanation by now, table and transcript also. But could probably need some cleanup. I really tried to find a way that Randall did not come up with this comic too late, but maybe the rounding down idea is too far fetched? But then I cannot see any other way to save the title text. --Kynde (talk) 11:57, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
You know, Randall is the only person I know who regularly talks about themed parties. I've never actually known them to be a particularly common thing. Nonetheless, it seems to be a recurring theme on XKCD. Hawthorn (talk) 12:03, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- Maybe but this is not a themed party, just a party to celebrate an event. A theme party to me is when you dress like in the 20s... :p, either one. --Kynde (talk) 13:43, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- Uh oh, now you've done it. The rules of the Meta-verse require that you host an "XKCD party themes" theme party. Iggynelix (talk) 14:40, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
According to wikipedia: the title of "Auld Lang Syne" that Beret Guy signs in the last picture <<may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or, more idiomatically, "long long ago">>, this could be a reference to SW's "Long long time ago..."
126.96.36.199 13:55, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- A few additional thoughts
It shouldn't be too hard to figure the distance (and therefore radio travel time) to Voyager I back into the past because once it was beyond the last planet visited (Saturn, in 1980) - both Voyagers have mostly been in free-fall under (predominantly) the sun's gravity only - so the math isn't that hard unless you need really razor-sharp precision.
Voyager II would be a lot harder because it also did fly-by's of Uranus and Neptune in '86 and '89 - which each changed it's speed quite noticeably - and those encounters happened after the first three movies were released.
But for a reasonable approximation - Wikipedia already has that chart: . You can see that after about 1981 (ie roughly around episode V and certainly after VI), both distance and velocity graphs are almost a straight line. So even then, the effect of the sun's gravity was really tiny and could probably be neglected unless you need REALLY high precision.
A much bigger issue for party-planning is the diameter of the Earth's orbit around the sun. That's not a negligible factor here - because it adds a variance of about +/- 500 light-seconds to any calculation...and +/-8.3 minutes of seasonal adjustment is critical in figuring out when to hold the party.
SteveBaker (talk) 17:25, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
- Yep, as far as I can tell, right now Voyager is behind the sun and we are chasing it. The heliocentric velocity is about ten times the geocentric judging by the estimated distance tickers. Over the next six months that lightspeed delay will begin to drop down again.188.8.131.52 09:57, 13 January 2020 (UTC)
- As of Jan 18, https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status/ gives the one way light travel time as 20:36:51. Clearly the speed away from the Earth has been overestimated, at least for the current month. So there is more time to plan parties than calculated.184.108.40.206 20:21, 18 January 2020 (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder if Randall sits around trying to think of comic ideas that will force the Explain Wiki editors to do a lot of research and table-making. (if this doesn't look like a lot of research to you, remember that "a lot" is subjective) 220.127.116.11 21:20, 10 January 2020 (UTC)
Star Wars Voyager, a play on Star Trek Voyager?
- Insufficient runtime
Isn't the Delta Quadrant way farther than that? We'd need at least a few more trilogies to balance that out.
^^^ that wasn't me, but I came here because it occurred to me that Star Wars Voyager is quite possibly a pun on 'Star Trek Voyager', which the above is a reference to.
18.104.22.168 03:05, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
- NTSC / PAL / physical film runtime deviations
What about the runtime deviations of different formats? Films are produced for 24 frames per second, while NTSC is 29,97 fps and PAL is 25 fps. So, maybe the time diference is resulting from this? Randal has took the original theater runtimes and the table lists maybe the ntsc dvd runtimes, that are faster? --Dichter (talk) 14:03, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
- Holiday special
So if we account for the Holiday special (roughly 120 min of "fun" if memory serves) there's still pleeenty of time . Although the will to throw a party migh suffer from that thought
- We do not talk about that! Please see that last row of this comic to know what would have happened to you saying this with fans around: 566: Matrix Revisited :-) If you wish to include more there is the two spin-off movies mentioned above for many hours more. --Kynde (talk) 18:08, 11 January 2020 (UTC)
- The comic is pretty clear on that point though - it says "Episodes I-IX". So no "special" and no movies that aren't numbered episodes. 22.214.171.124 03:36, 12 January 2020 (UTC)