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In The Force Awakens, when Starkiller Base is sucking in the sun's energy to charge up for destroying the Resistance, where does the energy enter the planet?

At first I assumed it entered through the same huge hole where it fires from, but in the scene where the X-Wings arrive to try and destroy the oscillator, there's a clear shot of the firing hole with no beam anywhere. There are a few shots where you see the beam of light from the sun, but it's not clear where it meets the planet.

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Why can't there be multiple holes? – SS-3 Jan 6 at 12:41
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@SS-3 there can be more than one hole of course, but only the firing hole is ever shown as far as I'm aware. – mluisbrown Jan 6 at 12:44
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@SS-3 - No, they wanted to know if the energy went in the big hole at the front. – Valorum Jan 6 at 13:55
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Into the giant plot hole that is this movie. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 6 at 15:53
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@MasonWheeler In the first Star Wars films, they didn't needlessly sacrifice consistency hoping it would produce fun. Which created something with enough consistency to be worth paying attention to. Sadly, that went down hill steeply with Ewoks Binks Gungans Anakin Midichloridians etc etc. TFA at least doesn't have the same foul stench of the prequels, but it's an even steeper pit of inconsistency and general apathy towards making sense. Some people appreciate movies which are fun AND make a fair amount of sense, which apparently is an art lost to (or completely abandoned by) many... – Dronz Jan 6 at 22:59
up vote 64 down vote accepted

According to the film's official novelisation, the 'dark energy' from the local star is channeled into gigantic "collectors" on the backside of the Starkiller Base planet. It's stored inside the core, then fired out through the big gun on the front:

Having been gathered in stages by an immense array of coupled collectors located on the other side of the planet, a tremendously compact volume of a type of dark energy known as quintessence had been accumulated at the center of the planet. Held in place inside a roiling molten metal core by the frozen world’s powerful magnetic field, augmented by the weapons system’s own containment field, it grew until there was nothing like it—nothing natural like it—in this corner of the galaxy.

For ease of reference, I've drawn a diagram:
enter image description here

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Note that in the movie, it looks as if the actual (hot, glowing, non-dark) plasma of the star is being sucked into the planet, which is different from the image most people would have from the novelization's description of "dark energy". That doesn't speak to where the energy/plasma actually goes in or is stored, which is the actual question here, but I add this comment to hopefully head off any confusion on that front. – Todd Wilcox Jan 6 at 18:26
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The longer you think about the physics behind Starkiller Base, the more completely implausible you really realize it is :P – deinlebenandern Jan 6 at 18:33
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@deinlebenandern - Did you not see the diagram? I'm not sure how much clearer I could have been... – Valorum Jan 6 at 18:36
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@kyle technobabble? More like 16th c magical babble. They literally say "quintessence". – Racheet Jan 6 at 18:59
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Isn't the sun alleged to be in the sky during the battle? Poe even mentions this - as long as there's light, we're okay. According to the diagram, it would have to be night on the side of the planet where the gun is located, unless the collectors are able to operate at some angle? – GalacticCowboy Jan 6 at 20:47

There was a large hole where the star matter was absorbed. If this is the same hole that it was fired from I do not know for sure, but I remember it being different.


Off topic:
For those who are having a hard time with the base's power source, yes it is impossible with current physics and legacy Star Wars physics, but apparently the Empire has found a way to pull the matter from a star (so lots of mass) into a smaller planets core, without pulling the smaller planet toward the star. They have also found a way to compact it enough to fit in the very small planet without the energy from compacting the gasses into such a small location and the resulting fusion causing the planet to explode. I do not like it, but I am happy that when they destroyed the planet (before firing) they remembered to put the star where the planet was. I just feel bad for all the planets in the solar system which will no longer have stable orbits.

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