Wed. Oct 20th, 2021


It’s one more year And another Star Wars Day – May 4th be with you. Following my tradition, I am going To accept Something Material From Star wars And Tax Something Cool Physics. For this year’s post, I’m going to see the end of it Strike behind the empire. The great thing about using this movie is that it’s so old – more than 40 years old – that I don’t have to worry about spoilers. I mean, if you haven’t seen it yet, are you really going to see it?

So, here’s the scene: Leah, Lando and Chebabacker use it Millennium Falcon To escape from the imperial forces at Bespin. As they exited, they grabbed Luke (he was literally hanging out). When they descend from the planet, of course, Dart Vader is present to intercept them with their Star Destroyer. Lando says, “Oh, no big deal. We’ll just jump at Lightspeed and skip this system sk” Well, it doesn’t work. Emails have disabled the hyperdrive.

And 2-D2 is the real hero here. He is on the ship Falcon Talking to Bespin Central Computer – you know, just sharing the lubrication techniques and C-3PO says that leaves some gossip about stupid things. The central computer comes back with the rumor: the hyperdrive has been turned off. So now 2 knows what to do. He’s rolling, and with a jerk of a switch-boom. Goes there Falcon, Directly into hyperspace hopefully they’re looking for where they’re going and don’t hit any planets or anything.

Now for cool physics. When the starship jumps into hyperspace, it flies backwards inside the R2 Falcon. It looks like he was getting on a turbocharged bus when the driver bumped into the gas and he didn’t fasten his seatbelt. I mean, it’s not necessarily a fake force. According to Einstein’s equivalent principle, There is no difference between an accelerated reference frame and a gravitational ball.

Thus, the acceleration is in the reference frame Falcon, There is a gravitational force present which pushes in the opposite direction as acceleration. In R2 the length of this force will be equal to its quality by the acceleration of the spaceship. If R2 has fully frictional wheels (or at least very little friction), then as Falcon Going forward he would accelerate backwards with respect to the frame of the ship. That’s a good thing – because I only need to measure the R2’s acceleration from the inside of the spacecraft.

This means we can analyze some videos. If I know the size of the stuff inside Falcon, Then I can determine the position of R2 in each video frame. Also, with a familiar frame rate I can find time for each of these positions. For the distance scale, I’m going to use And the height of 2-D2 And the rate at which the frame is embedded in the video (so that it returns to the correct speed). My favorite tool for getting this data Tracker video analysis. (It’s free.) Of course there are some minor issues with this analysis. The camera panned and zoomed in – but with how the R2 moves along the wall with it I got the following plot vs. position:



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