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Astronomer: Star Wars Explosion More Realistic Than Star Trek Explosion



On the left, you can see the destruction of Praxis, the moon of the Klingon homeworld. It blows up in the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. On the right, you can see the end Death Star from the 1997 re-release Star Wars: A New Hope. One astronomer, Phil Plait, argues that the rings appearing in both explosions show a poor understanding of physics, but the one appearing in Star Wars is somewhat more plausible.

In his 2002 book Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions And Misuses Revealed, From Astrology To The Moon Landing 'Hoax', Plait casts doubt on the verisimilitude of (Lucasfilm effects house) Industrial Light And Magic's seminal CGI effect depicting the explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis in Undiscovered Country. Since explosions in space tend toward spherical shape unless impeded, Plait concludes that the blast pattern resulting from the explosion of the Klingon mining operation has no credible reason to resolve into a ring form, even if everyone thinks the effect is far cooler here than in 1997's revised New Hope.

Conversely, the surface integrity of the Death Star hull is interrupted by a perfect ring in the form of the gargantuan maintenance trench which encircles it, meaning that at this point of interrupted stress, a growing explosion would find the least resistance. This makes the highly criticised 'ring effect' far more plausible in New Hope [V.2.0] than its predecessor in Star Trek VI.


Link via slashdot | Images: Paramount and Lucasfilm, respectively, modified by Shadowlocked

Simple to prove, really. Just review the footage of the Death Star just before it explodes. Does the explosive ring match the position of the equitorial trench. If not, then the theory is wrong, and both explosions are equally improbable.
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"Does the explosive ring match the position of the equatorial trench."

No it does not. The trench in the shot just prior to the explosion is running horizontal not vertical.
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Aside from the fact that the explosion of praxis was asymmetrical and thus would likely have fired the moon off its orbit - the same reason would preclude any ring.

IMO the Death Star explosion reflected the "pin to pin" construction of the central power core which caused the initial explosion - it could channel its explosion laterally outward in a ring.

But anyway ring explosions look cool.
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Hey, anyone remember the Original theatrical release of Star Wars??
There was NO RING when I saw the movie at the theater. It was added to the enhanced video release.

Of course, Plait is the man who is devoted to exposing bad science, except when he appears on Coast To Coast AM with George Noory (UFO conspiarcy HQ). :)
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Do we know what exactly happened when the powerstation on Praxis exploded? Did it exist as a ring around the moon? I don't recall any information about this being in the movie, so any shape explosion is possible.
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Since the X-wing's proton torpedo may have affected the subatomic structure of the Death Star, there is a high probability that no one reading this post will touch a member of the opposite sex tonight.
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There's a simple explanation for the Praxis ring - they stored all their shit in a belt around the moon, hence the plasma rings. Use your brain, 'astronomer'.
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