Friday, May 20, 2005

Saturn and the Death Star

Wednesday night a group of astronomers joined other crazed nerds enthusiastic fans to see the midnight showing of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. In one scene at the end of the movie, you see Darth Vader and the Emperor watching the beginning of construction of the Death Star.

Whenever I see the Death Star, I am reminded of this photo of Mimas, a moon of Saturn. It looks a lot like the Death Star, but the original Star Wars (A New Hope) was released nearly three years before this photo was taken! The resemblance is uncanny and almost scary!

The large crater on Mimas is named "Herschel," after the astronomer Williams Herschel, who discovered the moon in 1789. The impact that created this crater nearly ripped the moon apart. The terrain on Mimas shows ripples and other evidence of this incredible event.

Let us hope the Galactic Empire does not decide to make use of Mimas and destroy the Ringed Planet!

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