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Grand Moff Tarkin observes the targeting display of the Death Star I, which displays Alderaan and indicates a distance of 2.9945 megalights.


Zoom and clarification of the above image.


An Industrial Light & Magic spaceship speed and maneuverability chart from Return of the Jedi post-production

A megalight, abbreviated MGLT, was a standard unit of distance in space.

The T-65 X-wing starfighter and TIE/LN starfighter had top sublight speeds of 100 MGLT per hour.[1]

The superlaser targeting system of the Death Star I used megalights to indicate the distance to planets to be fired upon.[2]

Behind the scenesEdit

The MGLT was originally introduced in Industrial Light & Magic's reference chart for Return of the Jedi as a measurement of relative speed.[3] It was adapted into a speed constant for the X-Wing computer game series, which use non-Newtonian flight mechanics.

In the Star Wars: Behind the Magic interactive CD-ROM, released in the Fall of 1998, a "vehicle speed comparison chart" shows the maximum sublight speeds of various spacecraft displayed in MGLT. However, the Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance instruction manual, from 1999, suggests, "To dodge missiles, try flying 90 megalights per hour or faster," which would indicate that MGLT is the unit of distance. Thus, it can be assumed that when megalights is referred to as speed, it is referring to megalights per hour as a shorthand form.

Empirical evidence in the X-wing computer game series suggests that, within the context of the games, speed measured in MGLT per hour is roughly equivalent to speed measured in meters per second. For example, flying at a constant speed of 100 MGLT/hour, the time required to pass a stationary MC80a Calamari Cruiser (with a published length of 1200 meters) from bow to stern can be reliably observed at around 12 seconds. Therefore 1 MGLT/hour ≈ 100 meters/second, 360 kilometers/hour, and 223.694 miles per hour. But since such a speed is much slower than what even present-day aircraft can achieve, this conversion ratio is probably not relevant outside the games. This does not account for drift, which would be in effect even if a cruiser was stationary. Even without a precise conversion, MGLT values are useful as a relative comparison of the maximum performance of the different craft.

The relationship between the MGLT and acceleration in multiples of G, which is used in many recent sources,[4][5] is not yet known.

A cutscene in the original Star Wars: X-Wing shows "megalight" spelled out, but this has apparently been overlooked by such analysts as Curtis Saxton, who believes the word is a much later invention.[6]



Notes and referencesEdit

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