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Luke And Leia Ageing In Star Wars

  1. Sep 23, 2015 #1
    I read an article


    that suggested graduate students (or higher) had actually bothered to 'calculate' the dilation effects on Luke Skywalker and Leia from Star Wars to show how they, whilst born as twins, could not be the same age due to differing dilation effects.

    Now whilst I can completely agree with the premise, it is common sense and a logical deduction. I just cannot understand how the rest of the paper could be considered at all 'scientific' even given the events and planets etc. in Star Wars (including capability of 'hyperspace travel') are accepted.

    My main disagreements come from the following points:
    1) Dilation effects on timelines would be countered somewhat with the general relativistic impacts of accelerating and decelerating. This is completely ignored in the paper.
    2) There are absolutely no references to the masses of planets, distances between them, or actual duration spent in any location. Without any actual numbers even to make a reasonable estimate, there is nothing to base the 'calculations' on. The whole thing is unscientific.
    3) Completely wrong use of principles and neglect to consider physical laws fully as explained below:

    There is a reference to "Bespin" 'Cloud City' which assumes Bespin, being a Gas Giant, must have a greater gravitational strength than "Tattooine", a rocky planet with only two significant centres of civilisation. No argument there, HOWEVER - it is then suggested that the greater gravity would cause a greater slowing of time. This would be true if the distance at which the gravity acted was equivalent, however, the motions and rock formations and healthy musculature and breathing of those on "Tattooine" suggest a very similar to Earth 1G resultant gravitational field strength and 1atm atmospheric pressure.
    The same, when on the High-Altitude, FLOATING 'Cloud City' which is clearly high enough to provide an equivalent 1G combination of gravitational field strength and 1atm atmospheric pressure.
    Therefore, any time dilation would be EQUIVALENT for both parties.

    One twin is said in the paper to be 'on the surface of a gas giant' which is ludicrous and utterly inaccurate.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2015 #2


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    Time dilation does not depend on the local gravitational acceleration. It depends on how deep in the gravity well you are. For a larger planet, with the same local gravitational acceleration, you are deeper down in the gravity well.

    Anyway, the article seems to be quite pointless. A different distance at a different speed leads to a different time dilation. How surprising? Given the setting of Star Wars, travel happens faster than the speed of light anyway.
  4. Oct 12, 2015 #3


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    The "variable aging" I was wondering about was with Anakin Skywalker and Padme. He is nine years old and she is, what, sixteen or seventeen? So she is seven or eight years older than he is- but when he becomes a Jedi, suddenly the age difference is not so large!
  5. Jun 10, 2016 #4
    i was about to say the same thing! padme traveled so much as senator at light speed so she didn't age LOL
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