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Is Coruscant's defense strong enough to keep up against an attack from the Death Star?

If Tarkin lost control or turned against the Emperor, I guess even Vader couldn't stop the leader of the battle station from doing what he wants. Ie. Qui-Gon told "I can't fight a war for you" and there must be some legions on the Death Star.

Could the Death Star impose a threat to the capital of the Empire?

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read Star Wars X-Wing: Wedges Gamble, it goes into a bit of detail of the defenses around Corusant. The stormtroopers on the first death star are the 501st, 'Vaders Fist', Vader was there to oversee and protect against Tarkin doing something stupid like that, while Tarkin did have operational control. –  Mike Ramirez Jul 7 '12 at 9:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Yes. In Wedge's Gamble, there's a passage that talks about the main computer centre and says something along the lines of

Rumour had it that if the Death Star had been used against Coruscant, the computer centre would have been a recognisable and salvageable piece of debris.
Wedge's Gamble, p243

which suggests that the Death Stars' superlaser would overwhelm even the double shielding in place over Coruscant.

As to the point about Tarkin and Vader, as I said in this answer Vader was on the Death Star precisely to prevent Tarkin from getting the idea of taking out the Emperor. The Emperor also organised the leadership aboard the Death Star (between Tarkin, Tagge and Motti) so that all three would be jockeying for power between them instead of working together to do something ... foolish.

I guess even Vader couldn't stop the leader of the battle station do what he wants

Well, if Tarkin had gone off the rails and despatched the Death Star's entire stormtrooper garrison to take out, frankly my money'd be on the dude in the black.

BTW my reading of Qui-Gon's 'I can't fight a war for you' statement is less a reflection of his capabilities and more to do with the neutrality of the Jedi.

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This isn't canon tho' –  Gaius Mar 5 at 12:25
@Gaius: The existence of planetary shields around Coruscant isn't canon then, as they aren't mentioned in the movies at all (and Revenge of the Sith's opening scenes could be taken as an argument against a plentary shield). Most of the EU details of Coruscant's defenses are taken from the X-Wing series (they were written before the later books that reference Coruscant's defenses, and served as the basis for the later books), so if you discount this explanation, you're discounting the question itself. –  Jeff Mar 5 at 14:26
@Gaius It was canon at the time it was written... –  PhilPursglove Mar 5 at 14:40

Probably yes.

All examples of battles we see in Star Wars, even between capital ships, happen mostly within visual range. This means, if the Death Star fired its "superlaser" or what, from a couple of light-minutes or light-hours away, Coruscant would not even have had a chance to know what hit them, much less to defend itself.

I know, the Deaths Star could not fire from across the Galaxy because the light diffracts across very long distances (and it would take thousands of years to arrive), but from a few AUs away it would still have considerable power to destroy the planet or at least make it uninhabitable.

Why they did not use this strategy when they attacked the rebel base in Episode IV, I don't know. Maybe they were overconfident in the Death Star's invulnerability.

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Do we really know that the Death Star's main weapon has that kind of range? A real-world laser probably would, but the way the beam is formed from several smaller beams implies that it works in a way that's not entirely consistent with known physics. –  Keith Thompson Jul 7 '12 at 19:00
Blowing up a planet requires an insane amount of energy. The Earth, for example, would require at least 2.2405 * 10^32 kg m^2 s^-2 energy to be blown up, equivalent to the complete annihilation of 1,246,400,000,000 tonnes of antimatter. (source: qntm.org/data) If the Death Star can deliver this amount of energy to the distance of a lunar orbit, even if in a distance of a solar orbit it had only a billion times less energy, it would still be enough to make a planet completely uninhabitable. A nuclear bomb has the energy of a few hundred milligrams of antimatter. –  vsz Jul 7 '12 at 19:37
You may well be correct -- but you're making assumptions about how the effectiveness of the Death Star's main weapon falls off with distance. For all we know, it might fizzle out to nearly nothing at a million kilometers -- unlikely, but consistent with what we've seen. There's precedent elsewhere; in the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror", the Enterprise was able to survive the impact of the Romulan weapon by running away to a large enough distance (but then that wasn't a narrow beam). –  Keith Thompson Jul 7 '12 at 20:19
Is an episode of Star Trek really a 'precedent'? ;) Also, the beam (consisting of whatever) may have a high energy, but does it mean that it's very stable? Perhaps the gravity field has something to do with it if there is more to the DS's size than size. –  naxa Jul 8 '12 at 18:12

If Luke can destroy Death Star, there's no reason why Vader couldn't take out Death Star. Reasons:

  • Vader knew everything about Death Star including its weak spots. So, he could make better plans than Rebels.

  • Vader knew how to use force which could give him advantage. If a force-virgin like Luke could take advantage of force, why couldn't Vader.

  • Vader had more experience of battle than Luke. He was a great pilot too.. since childhood.

Worth mentioning that Emperor Palpatine would also be there against Death Star. Also, Imperial fleets aren't a small hurdle. Warp into Death Star with Star Destroyer (just saying).. and Boom!

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A Star Destroyer is 1.6 km long. The Death Star 120 km. An asteroid a 75th the width of Earth hitting our Moon at 40000 km per hour only craters it, but at over 1 million times the speed of light*, the Death Star would need some awesome shields. –  Cees Timmerman Sep 11 '12 at 12:36
Why would Vader know the weak points? He's not an engineer. He hasn't spent hours poring over them, looking for vulnerabilities. He, like all political leaders, has people for that. His people have told him there are no weak spots (because they discount the threat posed by snubfighters). None of the Imperials knew about the weak point until the Rebel attack pattern was analyzed. –  Jeff Mar 5 at 14:31
@CeesTimmerman: There's no evidence supporting the idea that you can ram a ship in normal space from hyperspeed. Even if you get the exit coordinates perfect (hard to do with a moving target) - we see some really incredible deceleration when ships exit hyperspace - I can't think of a time in the movies when they've exited hyperspace with any significant velocity, they usually exit virtually at rest. –  Jeff Mar 5 at 14:34
@Jeff True, but how fast would the landing matter make way? –  Cees Timmerman Mar 5 at 16:29

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