"ESB. Veers reports to Vader that the fleet has exited hyperspace, states that part of the Hoth VI is protected by an energy field, and that said field can deflect any bombardment. Vader complains that this means that the rebels had been alerted to their presence, and places the blame on Ozzel, saying he "came out of lightspeed too close to the system". This means that the fleet must be outside the system. The orbit of Nepture (the innermost point that can be considered the edge of our solar system) is about 4 light hours from the Sun, Hoth VI must be approximately the same distance from its star as the Earth is from ours as it's within the habitable zone (barely), and so the Imperial fleet must be at least several light hours from Hoth VI. Since Veers reported the fleet's exit from hyperspace at the same time he reported the existence of the shield, the two events must only be a few minutes apart. This would not be possible without FTL sensors. QED."Ignoring the FTL sensor claim for the moment, let's focus on the Imperial hyperspace exit point. Seafort basically suggests the Hoth system is similar to the Sol system, and that thus the Imperial fleet must have come out of hyperspace somewhere in a Neptune-esque orbit, whereas Hoth VI is in the Earth-like habitable zone four light-hours in.
This is all well and good, except for the minor detail that Seafort is smoking crack again.
Here's a shot from the scene of Death Squadron's arrival in the film:
That's Hoth you see. They're tens of thousands of kilometers away, maybe low, low hundreds. What was that about QED that Seafort said? Perhaps he's misunderstood the acronym ... it doesn't mean Quite Extremely Distant, rather obviously.
Here's how the whole thing plays out in the script:
"Alarms sound throughout the hidden Rebel base. In the control room, a controller urgently gestures for General Rieekan to check a computer scan.By this, the implication is that the Hoth system is no larger than the orbit of the moons of Hoth VI. We could stretch and say there were only six planets so that the Rebel base world just happened to be the border for the whole star system, but given the peculiar use of "system" as I have been pointing out for awhile, it seems more likely this an example of a planet and its moons being described as "the system". Case in point, the same thing occurs in the script for ANH, bolding mine:
CONTROLLER: General, there's a fleet of Star Destroyers coming out of hyperspace in sector four.
RIEEKAN: Reroute all power to the energy shield. We've got to hold them till all transports are away. Prepare for ground assault.
Rieekan exits hurriedly.
EXTERIOR: SPACE -- IMPERIAL FLEET
Six huge Star Destroyers move through space into the Hoth system."
"INTERIOR: MASSASSI OUTPOST -- WAR ROOM.
The princess, Threepio, and a field commander sit quietly before the giant display showing the planet Yavin and its four moons. The red dot that represents the Death Star moves ever closer to the system. A series of green dots appear around the fourth moon. A din of indistinct chatter fills the war room."Here's the novelization's take:
" SIX ominous shapes appeared in the black space of the Hoth system and loomed like vast demons of destruction, ready to unleash the furies of their Imperial weapons. "
- TESB Novelization Ch. 4The novelization thus puts them squarely inside the system, however it is meant.
Just for giggles, let's even see what the NPR radio play has to say . . .
Nothing for Seafort there, either.VADER: General Veers!VEERS: Yes, Lord Vader.VADER: What has happened? Something is wrong. Answer me!VEERS: The starfleet has moved out of lightspeed, my lord. All our ships made the transition without incident.VADER: You will pay a terrible price for your next hesitation, General.VEERS: Com-scan has detected an energy field protecting Hoth, where our probe droid was destroyed. It is a defensive shield, strong enough to deflect any bombardment the starfleet can deliver.VADER: Such a shield demands huge amounts of raw power. The Rebels cannot possibly operate it constantly. (beat) They are already alerted to our arrival. Admiral Ozzel has brought the starfleet out of lightspeed too close to Hoth!VEERS: He - he felt that the advantages of suprise and a close striking distance were more vital. There is a give and take in any battle plan, m'lord.VADER: Admiral Ozzel is as clumsy as he is stupid. This will be no easy victory.VEERS: No, Lord Vader. The Rebels are well-entrenched in ice caverns. They have turned that part of Hoth into a fortress.
So, it's pretty clear and pretty consistent that Vader's Death Squadron emerged from hyperspace too close to the system, by which we actually mean the normal sort of distance at which one emerges from hyperspace near a planet. This distance is measured in fractions of, or perhaps up to, one light-second (300,000km), and not light-hours.
Maybe from now on this will serve as easy reference point against those who try to inflate the true distance before our very eyes.