Star Wars

Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)


Concept featured in film: Binary Star Systems

Location of clip:


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: The scene opens with Luke Skywalker eating dinner with his aunt and uncle. He is told that he can't enroll in the pilot academy until the next year because they need his help on the farm. Luke gets frustrated and goes outside for a walk. In the background you can see two suns setting. The next scene is one of the most classic scenes in the Star Wars theme music playing in the background.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: This clip can be used to introduce students to binary star systems. As also pointed out on Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy ( website, student's can also examine the shadows cast throughout the movie and realize that the sharp shadows the movie depicts are not possible in a binary star system.

Suggestions to Teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. A teacher can begin by exploring binary star systems:

i. What is a binary star system?

ii. Is it possible to have a planet in orbit about a binary star? If so, have astronomers found any such systems? Which are they?

iii. What types of orbits could the planets have around the stars

b. Have students pay close attention to the shadows cast. What do the shadows look like? Are they sharp? Diffuse? Multiple? Have students research if the shadows observed are possible in the binary star system depicted in the movie.