Many American high school
s no longer have a civics
class, so its entirely possible that today's pre-teens
won't find out the difference between dictatorships and democracy. Lucas to the "rescue"?
If you ignore the source and just read the article, you will see a hilarious take in which the Weekly Standard's Jonathan V. Last makes "The Case for the Empire". Unlike many right-wing commentators on popular culture, this one actually is a knowledgeable fan.
nit-pick. We've known since the beginning that Tatooine
is a binary system
, it has two suns
. Although we only ever see them at those awesome sunset scenes, when one is intense orange and the other, already at the horizon, fading to grey, it is clear that even at sunset both shine with significant light.1
Therefore they should both cast shadows.
Now, the absence of dual shadows didn't bother me overmuch in the other episodes, since there are so many other physics violations. But the AotC scene featuring Anakin and Amidala casting shadows on the dome wall was too much. He's rubbing our faces in it. Minor spoiler: In this shadow scene, Anakin's shadow morphs to resemble his future Darth Vader silhouette
Couldn't Lucas at least give us a dim, second shadow, that in the other movies might have been there but not noticeable? Had he done this I would happily conclude that physics and astronomy aside, Tatooine's two suns must be very different -- like one of them is all heat & dim light, or something. The universe is a big place.
Wouldn't a second shadow be a much more interesting cinematic device? One hard, dark shadow for his future self, one faint wisp for the boy he no longer was, with a nod to the transformation and conflict that is adolescence? Or screw subtlety and just have the darker one tower menacingly over the other. The missed possibilities seem inexcusable.
BAH! Now I'm definitely not going to pay the second time I go...
Revised May 29, '02 and Sept 23, '03 by e-hadj
1. Probably, the only difference in their brightness is because the one closest to the horizon has to pass through more atmosphere than the one that is slightly higher up. If we saw them anytime during the rest of the Tatooine day, they'd probably be of near-equal brightness. Liveforever and I actually traded several long, thoughtful emails on the question of, could the two stars be of significantly different sizes, and therefore of different brightnesses, and still produce the sunset scene. You can check out a cool Java simulation of all the different ways a binary system might work, at http://prancer.physics.louisville.edu/astro/107/week_rev/week8/binary/binary.htm. We tried to consider other "observations" about Tatooine, such as the fact that the climate, while harsh, doesn't seem to vary much. We concluded that it might be possible to construct a scenario or two for two stars of significantly different sizes, with the larger one farther away than the other, which would give them the same apparent diameter (just like the Earth's moon and Sol have the same apparent diameter). In the end we decided there were far more (and more likely) scenarios in which the two stars were of nearly equal size and brightness. We were unable to agree as to which pissed us off more, Lucas's presumed ignorance of orbital dynamics or his willful infidelity to photology.
Update:The binary star simulation above has been taken down, but there are many like it on the Internet, try http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/astro101/java/binary/binary.htm or http://www.google.com/search?q=binary+star+simulator. Also, lj speculates, "Would it be possible for a star to have the majority of its output outside the visible spectrum?" This does happen, in fact many distant objects are detected more readily by radio telescopes than by visible light telescopes. However, my understanding is that such stars are of a different mass, size and/or age (by several orders of magnitude) than Sol-type stars such as Tatooine's. In other words, due to the nature of the atomic physics involved, any two stars of roughly similar masses will have nearly identical distributions of radiation across the frequency spectrum. As already discussed, because Tatooine has a stable climate, a scenario in which Tatooine's stars are of radically different masses but have the same apparent diameter is unlikely. It is also unlikely that stars in a binary system are of radically different ages; that would mean the two stars began as different solar systems, and later suffered a near-collision of just the right parameters as to result in them forming a stable, binary system. But to me the best argument against Lucas is simply: if both suns are visible to the eye at sunset, they should both cast visible shadows of some sort.