Could the Death Star have destroyed Yavin Prime and relied on the ensuing cataclysm to take out Yavin Four?
By - tonnellier
I think you guys are not appreciating how much more energy would be needed to blow up a gas giant as opposed to a terrestrial world. The Death Star laser has a certain maximum output which is designed to blow up a regular planet, but a gas giant is thousands of times more massive and energetic.
The core of such a planet is already massively hot and energetic, so much so that the comparatively small power output of the Death Star laser would make little difference.
Jupiter’s core for example is 10-20 times the size of earth and sitting at 36,000 degrees. It is held together by gravitational compression. The Death Star laser wouldn’t do anything if you shot it into such a hot, dense structure, the energy output is nothing compared to the energies already present in the core of the gas giant.
It would be like throwing a lit match into a raging fire.
While that may be true, I do want to point out that the Death Star's full power laser is capable of outright vaporizing terrestrial planets, while a single reactor ignition is still powerful enough to crack one in half. Would that level of power really not affect a gas giant?
Look at it this way, If you put an earth sized object next to the core of a gas giant it would also be completely vaporized.
Appreciate the scale of things here. The core of a gas giant probably could contain hundreds of earth sized planets and all that mass is already at 36,000 degrees, three times hotter than the cores of terrestrial planets.
Can a shot from a Death Star laser destroy both 1 earth and 300 earths equally well? Would it only take a single blast? How many times would it have to fire? Would it do anything at all to something so large and energetic?
Given that the theoretical energy output of the Death Star would pretty much require more mass than the Death Star itself to be converted into energy to power the "laser", we can't really rely on traditional physics.
If we go by Legends material, then the laser somehow causes matter to split into anti-matter/matter pairs and self-annihilate. I won't point out how that doesn't make any sense, but suffice to say a long enough blast from the Superlaser would probably eventually cause Yavin to explode, if that's how it works, but they would certainly have to fire it longer, maybe up to 300x longer than they did to blow up Alderaan and I think it's questionable whether it could do that.
Makes sense, thanks for the elaboration!
There would also have to be the concern of the Death Star getting caught up in the explosion of Yavin Prime if it somehow was able to get the planet to explode. I imagine that wouldn't have worked out well for either party.
Would the laser of the Death Star have no effect on the gases in the atmosphere of the planet?
If it did, it would likely be highly diffuse. The gas would only interact with the superlaser occasionally, giving it a larger volume over which its energy is spread. It might cause storms and disruptions within the atmosphere, but I doubt it would be cataclysmic enough to have any effect on the moons.
Your comments have made me realize that it probably doesn’t make much sense that a super powerful laser could even blow up an Earth-sized planet. IRL, lasers can catch ships on fire and blow up missiles by causing their parts to fail or warheads to detonate due to high heat. What’s a big, powerful, but brief blast from a laser going to do to a planet? Maybe make a new volcano if it can straight up melt through the crust?
Couldn’t they have shot through the upper atmosphere at least? And hit the moon while still hidden on the other side.
Oh yeah I think so. That’s no problem.
Not being a high-energy physicist or having blown up a gas giant with a superlaser, I would think the gas giant's atmosphere might interfere with the laser's effectiveness. Since the beam is passing through an atmosphere, diffusion becomes a problem. It might make it through the edge of the gas giant's atmosphere, but it also might ignite some of the gases and block the throughput somehow. It might also make the beam that much stronger, too.
Maybe one of the more scientifically minded folks might be able to explain it a bit better, but you're shooting a laser through gases. That's bound to have some unintended side effects.
I agree, but it's hard to say what effect the gas would have without knowing how powerful that beam is or what it actually does.
Or even what gases are present in the atmosphere. Maybe the Death Star blowing up Yavin the gas giant in an alternate reality is actually the Big Bang, which would explain '*A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...*'
Wait THAT is how they explained it in Legends?
If even a third the mass of an earthsized planet was annilhated it would outshine most SUPERNOVA.
Yes, Matter antimatter annihilation is wild and writers have no sense of scale.
Edit: Ah crap I replied to the wrong thing. Was too busy doing the math.
Still though, yeah. What.
Well Gas Giants are a lot less dense than terrestrial worlds. I would think it would make them easier to penetrate and disrupt the core. This is also a magnified superlaser that destroys anything it touches that is matter. Thats like saying it's easier for a bullet to go through a brick than a mattress of hot butter, just doesn't make much sense.
Thing is the brick is rigid, so if you do get a bullet to go through it the brick is most likely going to explode into shards, whereas if you shot that same bullet into the butter mattress, you'd just get a butter mattress with a bullet hole in it that would slowly refill as the butter slorped back into the hole.
Likewise, firing the death star at the core of a gas giant would likely put a hole in the core of the gas giant, but it wouldn't actually blow the core apart.
I feel like disrupting the shape of such a massive object in a vacuum wouldnt yield an explosion anyways, more like a plasma cloud that expanded and engulfed a few AUs around it.
I wonder if blowing up a gas giant is a good idea, the ensuing explosion would’ve definitely taken out Yavin IV, but it might’ve also taken out The Death Star.
🤔 that would be a question of effective range vs blast radius, tbh
Depends on what you mean by 'cataclysm.' If you mean, from the explosion? I doubt it, but IANAAstrophysist. Anyway I doubt the DS1, as powerful as it was, could have withstood an explosion so powerful that it would have also destroyed Yavin 4.
If by cataclysm you mean, the ensuing planetary chaos caused by obliterating a major celestial body, could you Seti Alpha Five Yavin 4, then totally. BUT the question here is timeframe. Not knowing offhand the makeup of the Yavin system, its probable that Yavin 4 would simply careen off on a new life as a rouge planet, frozen, uninhabitable, and probably unfindable (except, naturally, through the force). This would complicate much of Legends in interesting ways. Perhaps the radical and rapid shift in gravitational forces would rip Yavin 4 apart or send it careening into another world as well, meaning Yavin's lifespan would be a tremendous amount more exciting, but also shorter. You may think that spells doom for the alliance, but in either case I think weve seen enough on screen and in book evidence to suggest that its totally feasible to evacuate a world while its in the process of an active global catastrophe. In this scenario Yavin 4 would certainly cease to exist as we know it, with mossy temples and thick forests. But the alliance might still slip away.
All that being said, as someone else pointed out the DS is a fear-based weapon. They sent it in in EP4 alone, no net to catch stragglers or an attempted evacuation. In my mind this suggests the mission wasn't necessarily to kill the Rebel high command. It was to destroy the base on Yavin 4 by destroying *all* of Yavin 4. Its to send a message of deterrence. "Remember, Mon Cals, that we can do this to you as well."
I think so.
Even gas giants have some kind of core--assuming it's as massive as Jupiter's (724 million trillion tons), then just the core alone absolutely dwarfs Yavin 4 and it's destruction would likely obliterate every surrounding moon.
Yes. If Yavin Prime is destroyed, it becomes an asteroid field (like Alderaan).
Yavin Four orbits Yavin Prime's center of gravity. The center of gravity wouldn't change just because it blows up, however the Death Star also pushes part of the target planet's mass into hyperspace. So the mass of Yavin Prime's Asteroid Field would be less than Yavin Prime, and Yavin 4 would probably fly off into space, or at least outside the habitable zone.
> however the Death Star also pushes part of the target planet's mass into hyperspace.
Can I get a source on this please? Because even in the new lore (that I've watched/read), we never saw that happen.
It’s in the link. That’s the only source I have.
Edit: googling the phrase in the link leads me to the Legends Death Star novel, which is not Canon.
So it’s possible that it’s no longer correct.
This means we need to wait for a canon explanation for why the planetary explosion produced a largely worthless asteroid field, rather than a mineable field of relatively valuable minerals from Alderaan’s core and subsurface.
If the explosion mechanics change then the answer will change.
>This means we need to wait for a canon explanation for why the planetary explosion produced a largely worthless asteroid field, rather than a mineable field of relatively valuable minerals from Alderaan’s core and subsurface.
That should be easy to explain. Alderaan is a giant rock. When it was blown up it became a bunch of smaller rocks.
Simple rock science.
Ok then what’s the explanation for
- chunks of the planet moving at superluminal speed in the documentary “a new hope”
- asteroid field only slightly larger than the planet, but significantly less dense. (Assuming the Death Star didn’t move substantially while the Falcon was in hyperspace) in same documentary, a few minutes later.
>chunks of the planet moving at superluminal speed
Not sure what you're referring to. I don't recall rocks moving that fast.
Takes 4 seconds for the 10,000 km planet to explode.
So parts of it were moving at 1% light speed
Gotcha because the link you gave didn't lead anywhere. And we also don't know if the asteroid field was worthless either. All we know is that cracked like a party favor
I think that was in legends too. Han Solo said there wasn’t anything valuable there. They called it the Alderaan Graveyard
It probably could have but that wasn't the goal of the Death Star. It was a cold war device. Made to enforce fear, not destroy everything willy-nilly. A gas giant would still have resources. Destroying Yavin IV was likely a planned tactic to wipe out the Rebellion. Destroying Yavin Prime likely would only cause more problems.
I think you underestimate Mr. "eh-since-we-re-already-here-might-as-well" Tarkin. Not like Alderaan wasn't economically profitable.
Alderaan was their demonstration. It was home of one of the rebel leaders so was likely to hold more. It was also so Leia would lead them to the rebel base since they let her go anyways.
All true, but if economics were the driving factor, Alderaan would have been used, not destroyed.
This does not align with how effective I found destroying everything willy-nilly when I got the Death Star in Empire at War.
I personally think that it could've - in fact, that's probably what I would've done, it came up in one of those "what you'd do in tarkins place" kind of threads.
I'm relatively sure that the superlaser could've introduce more than enough energy to turn the gas giant into a small star for at leas couple months.
That is assuming the deathstar doesn't get destroyed alongside yavin prime. As you said, the superlaser could've turn the gas giant into a star and even if it wont, an exploding gas giant would be a bigger danger to the deathstar itself than the rebel strike team.
Or destroy the core of the planet entirely, just aim at the center and just boop
Is this question inspired by [this video](https://youtu.be/zzoeEdW-EDQ) by any chance?
Ha! It wasn’t intentionally, though I’m sure I’ve seen that one before.
I think the better question is whether they could have shot through the gassy part of Yavin rather than waiting for an unobstructed shot.
What happens when you destroy the core of a gas Giant
I’ve no idea, but I bet it doesn’t half go pop.