(Editorial note: Pictures linked to in the debate have been added to the text in an in-line fashion, so that the picture occurs immediately before the link thereto.)
DEATH STAR FIREPOWER
I will refrain from going over old arguments. You have whined for days
that it would be unfair to use your own history against you, and many
observers will be unfamiliar with them anyway, so I will make a fresh
start. Your basic claim is that the Death Star induces an exothermal
chain reaction of unknown properties in Alderaan, rather than simply
transferring a huge amount of power into it and destroying it. This
strikes most people as absurd; after all, the opening crawl of ANH
states quite clearly that the Death Star is "an armored space station
with enough POWER to destroy an entire planet" (perhaps you've never
watched the film).
In any case, you claim to have conclusive evidence that the opening
crawl of the canon movie is wrong. According to you, the superlaser
strikes Alderaan (and you deny the existence of its shield) but damages
very little of the planet (you picked an arbitrary 20-30% figure out of
thin air, as I recall). Instead of heating the planet or directly
causing it to expand, you claim that the superlaser creates an
"anti-Genesis effect" which moves over the surface of the planet,
spreading outward from the point of contact until it eventually covers
the entire surface (I have no idea what you're trying to accomplish by
introducing Trek-based red herrings, but there it is). As evidence for
your bizarre sci-fi technological cross-pollination theory, you cite the
fact that the explosion of the far side of the planet lags behind that
of the near side, thus implying that the heating/expansion effect of the
superlaser's energy transfer is not instantaneously uniform throughout
the entire planet's mass and proving the existence of your mysterious
exothermal chain reaction (there are some monstrous logical and
scientific problems with this "reasoning", but this post will be long
enough as it is, so I will restrict myself to discussion of the evidence
itself for now).
Note: all frames are digitized from my CLV laserdiscs and then
inverse-telecined to the original 24fps theatrical framerate for
timebase correction. The screenshots are taken from my best-quality
Divx-encoded version of the film, not the lower-resolution low-bandwidth
version which I made available for download from the Alderaan page (that
one was transcoded from the master copy). If it should turn out that you
have misrepresented the evidence, then any conclusions you have drawn
from your analyses would be judged accordingly. You only made comments
on a handful of frames, but I will include a large number of them for
the sake of comprehensiveness, and to demonstrate some phenomena which
apparently slipped under your radar:
According to you: "The white flash of the superlaser strike." Yes,
there's a white flash, but you neglect to mention the "halo effect"
outside the atmosphere on the right-hand side, and the unaffected oceans
and clouds underneath. Perhaps you weren't paying close attention?
Rapid propagation of halo effect, which now covers nearly the entire
hemisphere despite visibly unaffected oceans underneath. Note rapid
propagation of halo effect (perhaps one quarter of the planet's
circumference in 1/24 second, which is roughly 0.8c). The halo effect is
probably a visible manifestation of the planetary shield's reradiation
According to you: "The firey explosion begins, mostly near the beam."
Again, I must ask: were you paying attention? There is no fiery
explosion; there is luminescence but nothing is being thrown away from
the planet, and we can clearly see unaffected oceans underneath.
Moreover, your contention that it is "mostly near the beam" is simply
absurd; the planetary shield is now visibly glowing over nearly a full
Dramatic intensification of halo effect, which is now so bright that it
saturates the video medium. Note that the effect intensifies but does
not travel much farther around the planet, which is typical of shield
absorption/re-radiation characteristics as seen in TPM; they can only
dissipate the energy over a limited surface area around the point of
contact. The enormous rate of energy dissipation is obviously going to
overload the shield's energy handling limits shortly. Without a
planetary shield, it would be extremely difficult to explain why the
propagation rate starts off so quickly and then slows down so dramatically.
Slight change in the halo effect's physical appearance, although the
coverage area has not dramatically changed (note that the far side is
still blue). However, the sudden unevenness and colour changes may
indicate that the shield has failed. This would imply that the
superlaser is drilling into the planet's mass already, although the
sheer scale means that there will be a measurable time lag before the
surface expands (even at 5% of c, it would take 1 frame for a lower
mantle expansion to breach the surface and 5 frames for a core expansion
to breach the surface). Intensification without forward progress is
consistent with a shield, but not with your mysterious surface-level
Planetary explosion begins outright. The fire rings must have appeared
somewhere between frames 4 and 5, and they are already 1500 km away from
surface. Note that they are centred around the planet's core and aligned
with the camera angle, not the superlaser.
According to you: "The rings and a band of brightness around the center
of the beam appear. The band will encircle the globe". What is this
band, Darkstar? I don't see any "band"; at best, there are
irregularities in the brightness, which are hardly inexplicable in a
chaotic explosion. You also say: "the first ring has appeared all the
way around the planet, even though that left side (with atmosphere,
even) still seems to be stable. (That's the last frame of the
superlaser.) Assuming anyone was still alive at this point on the other
side of the planet, they must've wondered what the hell was going on."
In short, there is a blue tinge at the far side which you use as proof
that the far side is completely unaffected. However, one should not read
too much into a blue tinge, as we can see in the screenshot below:
Frame 5 with frame 0 inverted and superimposed
We can see that the planet has already been heated up to such an extent
that glowing material has been hurled at least 100-200 km away from the
surface at all points around the planet, INCLUDING the far side. I doubt
anyone would be lazily "wondering what the hell was going on" when the
ground beneath his feet has been heated up to such an extent that it has
shot up into the sky and out of the atmosphere!
Continued expansion. Rings expand another 4600 km, thus indicating
average velocity of more than 1/3c. Planetary mass continues to expand
and heat dramatically, which would be consistent with a blast that
expands its mass from within.
According to you: "The next frame shows the superlaser target point much
darker, with a band of greater brightness around it that reminds me of
the Genesis Effect." I must ask: are you watching a different version of
the film than the rest of us? Where is this "band of greater brightness"
around the superlaser contact point? Are you referring to the fact that
the entire planet is glowing and expanding, with two thirds of it
expanding at a slightly greater rate? And did you notice that the
reddish, or "darkened" region is centred around the MIDDLE of the
planet, and not the superlaser contact point as you claim, which was
well to the right? Your analysis is certainly starting off on the wrong
foot when you seem to develop a case of hysterical blindness while
examining the evidence! And what is this "Anti-Genesis Effect"? I don't
see any "Anti-Genesis Effect!" All I see is a planet which is rapidly
expanding, albeit with a slight asymmetry that is easily explained by
energy propagation delay through the planet's mass.
According to you: "A couple of frames later, the band of brightness has
expanded, as have the rings, and the dark patch where the superlaser hit
is darker." Again, you seem to be inventing observations out of thin
air. The dark patch is now well to the left, while the superlaser was
well to the right. And the "band" is white-hot matter shooting into
space around the entire planet.
According to you: "It is only when the leftmost section of the ring
almost leaves the frame that the band of brightness seems to reach the
leftmost horizon of the planet." You go on to conclude that the far side
of the planet was basically untouched until this point! However, when we
superimpose the colour-inverted planet on the frame, we get:
Frame 11, with frame 0 inverted and superimposed
In this view, it is clear that while there is SOME asymmetry in the
explosion, it is easily explained through propagation delays, which are
measurable on a planetary scale even at significant fractions of c.
Perhaps you have a modified version of the film in your imagination?
That is not a "band of brightness"; it is countless billions upon
billions of tons of superheated debris flying away from the planet in
all directions! The debris field is already 500 km away from the surface
at the closest point, and thousands of km away at the farthest point.
Again, I must ask if you have some kind of vision problem. This
expansion continues for a while, so we skip ahead a few frames to:
Secondary burst begins (you can see that the initial burst is slightly
up and to the left, although it is difficult to discern what's going on
through the light and debris). Note that the fire ring has slowed down
dramatically. After expanding at a rate of more than 1/3 c between
frames 5 and 6, it has covered only 22,000 km in the 21 frames since
then, for an average velocity of only 25,000 km/s. This indicates that
it is SLOWING DOWN despite the lack of a natural braking mechanism in
space! It would be a gross understatement to say that the fire rings are
a curious phenomenon.
Of course, you didn't notice that, but you DID have enough time to say
"This secondary explosion is apparently much larger than the first,
though it doesn't appear as bright in the first moments (it may have on
the opposite side of the planet). It appears to be centered somewhere
behind the core of the planet. The second ring is also larger and much
faster than the first. The secondary explosion also gives us our first
observation of large debris material, appearing to come from the former
location of the center of the planet, headed in the general direction
the superlaser had come from."
Again, I must ask: are you inventing observations in your imagination
now? If the second explosion is off-centre, why does its fire ring line
up with the first one? And where is this debris heading TOWARD the Death
Star that you describe? The next few frames clearly show an explosion
that is skewed to the LEFT, not the right:
Second "fire ring" appears. Note that it matches the first one in both
location and alignment, thus indicating that despite the irregular
appearance of the "secondary burst", it is still roughly centred on the
planet's original core location.
The second fire ring continues to expand, rapidly catching up to the
first one which is mysteriously continuing to lose velocity.
The second fire ring has nearly caught up to the first fire ring.
The second fire ring meets the first ring.
The second fire ring has merged with the first fire ring and both are
continuing outward. Note the lack of violent interactions between the
two fire rings.
After apparently mutilating the evidence in your mind, you conclude:
"This suggests that the superlaser only directly destroyed the part of
the planet facing it in those first few milliseconds, since there would
be no particular reason for a higher concentration of bulk material
(from the core or otherwise) to head toward the original location of the
beam. It would have to be either because that area of the planet no
longer existed (providing no resistance), and/or because something (the
secondary explosion, produced somehow by the bands) was giving it a good
shove from behind. This also serves to explain why so much of the
material of the secondary explosion seemed to fly away and behind the
planet, while larger pieces flew forward."
However, since the explosion does NOT hurl any more material back toward
the Death Star than it does in any other direction, your "observation"
turns out to be a fabrication, along with any conclusions reliant upon it.
Of course, I recognize that you hang your hat mostly upon the "fire
rings" rather than these grossly mistaken observations of yours, but we
must deal with one point at a time, in a linear progression. Your
analysis of the Alderaan blast appears to be based on either serious
vision problems, dishonesty, or perhaps a seriously corrupted version of
the film (perhaps you watched it on VHS and were unable to distinguish
the well-known colour-bleed problems of the format from the underlying
Are you willing to concede that you have either misrepresented the
evidence or seen an extremely poor-quality copy of it? I have presented
clear evidence that the entire planet is ALREADY expanding in frame 5,
its asymmetry is actually skewed AWAY from the superlaser and not toward
it as you say, there is NOT an unusual concentration of debris heading
back toward the Death Star, the "dark spot" is NOT located at the
superlaser contact point, and the two explosions are NOT significantly
off-centre from one another. To contest these points would be nearly
absurd, since the evidence is in plain view, from the highest-quality
If you are willing to concede that your observations are faulty, we can
move onto your "fire ring" fallacies in our next exchange (assuming that
you pick up this challenge and continue this debate).
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