# In Other Words

## Kevin Wald

All of these distances listed (with metric prefixes indicating the multipliers they usually do) are a few hundred thousand kilometers:

1.362 megafurlongs = 274,000 km
214.8 gigapotrzebies = 486,200 km
94.22 megarods = 473,900 km
3.798 exaangstroms = 379,800 km
100.1 Postscript gigapicas = 423,800 km
356.9 light-microhours = 385,200 km
5.704 gigahands = 579,500 km
140.5 megafathoms = 256,900 km
8.512 nanoparsecs = 262,700 km
415.5 teramicrons = 415,500 km
1.117 gigafeet = 340,500 km
136.3 nautical kilomiles = 252,400 km
2.659 astronomical milliunits = 397,800 km
82.80 nautical kiloleagues = 460,000 km
254.4 statute kilomiles = 409,400 km
34.02 gigabarleycorns = 288,000 km
2.819 gigaspans = 644,400 km
418.0 megasmoots = 711,400 km
15.06 megachains = 303,000 km

All these distances are on the order of magnitude of the moon's orbit. However, the flavortext says to scale everything up, and refers to "out back of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, across from the yacht club"; this is the location of the "earth" in the scale model solar system that is scattered around Greater Boston. If you scale up all the distances as per this model (1 inch equals 10,000 km), they are the size of distances between stars.

(An additional hint to this can be found in the title and flavortext: "In Other Words" is the song famously sung by Sinatra whose verse starts: "Fly me to the moon/And let me play among the stars.")

We can thus start "here" (on earth) and hop from star to star. In some cases there are multiple alternatives; the following considerations can help to narrow those down:

• Since we are taking letters, we need only consider stars with names, rather than just catalog numbers.
• The line "If we do it while the target is away, it's all within bounds" hints at the fact that we never get further away than the (scaled-up) distance to the moon at apogee.
Taking the appropriate letters from the (common) names of the stars on our path, we get:

07 39 18.1 +05 13 30 0.28605 Pro(c)yon
22 03 21.7 -56 47 10 0.27584 (e)psilon Indi A
11 03 20.2 +35 58 12 0.39342 La(l)ande 21185
03 32 55.8 -09 27 30 0.30999 (e)psilon Eridani
18 49 49.4 -23 50 10 0.33690 Ros(s) 154
01 44 04.1 -15 56 15 0.27439 (t)au Ceti
18 05 27.3 +02 30 00 0.19596 70 Oph(i)uchi A
17 57 48.5 +04 41 36 0.54698 B(a)rnard's Star
10 56 29.2 +07 00 53 0.41910 Wo(l)f 359
21 06 53.9 +38 44 58 0.28604 61 Cyg(n)i A
23 05 52.0 -35 51 11 0.30364 L(a)caille 9352
00 49 09.9 +05 23 19 0.23188 (V)an Maanen's Star
06 45 08.9 -16 42 58 0.38002 S(i)rius
22 27 59.5 +57 41 45 0.24806 Kru(g)er 60 A
14 39 36.5 -60 50 02 0.74723 (a)lpha Centauri A
05 11 40.6 -45 01 06 0.25527 Kap(t)eyn's Star
19 50 47.0 +08 52 06 0.19497 Alta(i)r
04 15 16.3 -07 39 10 0.19900 (o)micron 2 Eridani
07 27 24.5 +05 13 33 0.26376 Luyte(n)'s Star

(The figures to the left are right ascension, declination, and trigonometric parallax -- that is, 1 parsec divided by the distance to the star -- from http://www.chara.gsu.edu/RECONS/TOP100.posted.htm.)