The Physics of the Death Star

Ethan Siegel
Sep 18, 2014 · 7 min read

How to destroy an Alderaan-sized planet.

“What’s that star?
It’s the Death Star.
What does it do?
It does Death. It does Death, buddy. Get out of my way!” -
Eddie Izzard

It’s one of the most iconic sequences in all of film: the evil galactic empire takes the captured princess to her home planet of Alderaan, a world not so different from Earth, threatening to destroy it unless she tells…