Last month Star Wars: The Force Awakens was finally released and it has shattered record after record since then. Millions of fans have seen the movie at least once, and they’re probably waiting anxiously for Episode VIII to answer some of their most pressing questions. There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the upcoming episode — one of them being the fact that everyone from The Force Awakens returns to Episode VIII — you should know that almost all your favorite new and old characters should have died at the end of the last movie.
Warning: Some major spoilers follow below.
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If there’s one thing that’s a bit odd about the new Star Wars film, it’s the new Death Star, which is now called a Starkiller base. Home of the First Order, the sun-sucking Starkiller can take out planets in other solar systems from lightyears away.
We frowned when we learned how it worked, but we accepted it nonetheless even if it defies common sense and physics. After all, the second Death Star explosion (Episode VI) would have killed everyone on Endor, wiping out all Rebels, Ewoks, and whoever else was found on that planet. And we accepted that.
J.J. Abrams had to have a Death Star of his own, of course, considering the fact that he simply used the recipe for A New Hope to make The Force Awakens – not that this detail is a bad thing. But because Abrams imagined a planet that can suck up a star, Wired set out to see what would happen if somebody could actually do that.
Using simple astrophysics principles, the site demonstrated that everybody who was on Starkiller base, or in its vicinity, should be dead by the end of the movie.
By draining a nearby sun, the Starkiller base also absorbs the mass of the star – Wired estimates the sun’s mass to be 2 x 1030 kg, while the planet would be 300,000 smaller, or 6 x 10324 kg.
That would mean the gravitational field would increase by a factor of 300,000 (assuming the planet is the same size as the Earth) as it absorbs the star. As a result, everyone on the planet’s surface would have a tough time moving around – they wouldn’t even be able to trigger the weapon, in fact. And ultimately they would die.
Wired also says that the base would turn into a black hole if it maintained its size, but with a slightly smaller diameter.
Because it sucks up the mass of a stellar object that happens to be the center of planet system, Starkiller base would become the central point in that galaxy. That would mean it would lose its orbital movement around the sun, and would spin out of control. Using what we know about our planet and our sun to do the math, Wired says the base would have to spin at 43.7 revolutions per second. Comparatively, the Earth has a rotation rate of one revolution per day. At that speed, the tech site calculated that the planet would have to have a mass bigger than 2.9 x 1035 kg, or significantly larger than the numbers above.
In other words, everyone on Starkiller base would either be flung into space or crushed by the immense gravity of the planet. They would all die.
Wired goes on to explain that the other planets in the solar system that lose their sun would die as soon as the planet departed toward a different sun – that’s if the First Order could pilot the planet to a new destination. Left behind, the planets would lose their orbits around Starkiller base, and they would start traveling through space in a straight line.