In The Force Awakens, Starkiller Base is shown to be tremendously close to its host star—close than Mercury is to the Sun.

So why is it a snow planet?

NOTE: Part of the answer might have to do with how much heat radiation a star the size of Jupiter would output, since that seems to be about the size of Starkiller Base's sun in the movie.

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    OK, so now someone types up "because it has a very small sun" as an answer and get lots of rep, even though it's not correct! The star was [spoiler] because Starkiller Base [spoiler] [spoiler], resulting in the star [spoiler].
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 22, 2015 at 8:11
  • I understand that the star progressively [spoiler] as Starkiller Base [spoiler] [spoiler], but that doesn't explain the proximity of the base to the star. If the star had once been much bigger, it would have completely swallowed the orbit of the base.
    – user339676
    Dec 22, 2015 at 9:55
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    I am afraid that for the same reason that all planets in universe are defined by just one topographical feature, most aliens are bipedal and walking upright and travel to any point in galaxy takes just as much time as it is convenient for the plot. Star Wars is more work of fiction than science. Dec 22, 2015 at 10:51
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    Polite request: please refrain from posting obvious guesses till actual canon information can be found. We all can come up with logical explanations (even the OP himself) - small star, colder star progression, larger distance from the star to planet. NONE of them are worth posting as an answer without a meaningful canon backup Dec 22, 2015 at 14:05
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    How do you know the Starkiller base is that close? Distances in space are extremely difficult to evaluate?
    – Taladris
    Dec 22, 2015 at 14:31

3 Answers 3


I'm unable to comment this, but, I believe it was stated by Finn that Starkiller Base (unable to look through the book at the moment) is moved into orbit around a star it can absorb. It would be understandable for The First Order to create the orbit as close to the star as possible while still keeping the surface of the planet habitable.

It could very well have been in an orbit you could expect a snowy planet to be in before it was moved to the star shown in the movie.

  • Note that even Mercury has ice (but little to no atmosphere to trap and diffuse thermal energy). If they moved it into orbit, they presumably also tidally locked it so as to always face outboard. We only really see the "dark side" of it (in the movie)
    – Yorik
    Dec 31, 2015 at 15:46
  • @Yorik If that turns out to be the case, it would beg the question of how there is so much light on the "dark side" of the planet. (The winds on such a tidally locked planet would also be astronomical, but that's a question for another time.)
    – user339676
    Jan 1, 2016 at 3:11
  • @Tratto You could be right. I suppose a civilization as advanced as the First Order could in theory make a planet-wide shield that filters cosmic rays and protects the fragile biosphere. Maybe they need it to be a snow planet for some technical reasons or because the native food source only grows in cold climates. It's interesting to think about.
    – user339676
    Jan 1, 2016 at 3:28

The film's Official Novelisation describes it as "spectacular and isolated". The clear implication is that it doesn't receive a lot of energy from its (relatively close) local sun. This was, presumably one of the reasons why it was chosen to play host to the Starkiller Base:

The fleet of Star Destroyers stood off the white world. Spectacular and isolated, with a mean surface temperature varying from merely cold to permanently arctic, the planet had been altered: its mountains tunneled into, its glaciers hacked, and its valleys modified until it no longer resembled its original naturally eroded form. Those who had remade it had renamed it.

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    That would make sense, I suppose, but for a world to be so close to its host star and not get cooked, the star would have to be a "brown dwarf" (i.e., not a star at all). Being a brown dwarf would explain why it's so tiny in proportion to Starkiller Base, though.
    – user339676
    Jan 1, 2016 at 3:15
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    @user339676: Either way, you can't just suck matter from a star like that and not get annihilated in the process. It would have gone nova as soon as sufficient mass had been removed to upset the balance between the competing solar forces (fusion vs gravity) ... which would not have taken long. Just all a load of nonsense, frankly. Jan 7, 2016 at 0:07
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit - Hush now. It's not an episode of Cosmos, If you wanted the whole thing to make scientific sense, there'd be no movie at all.
    – Valorum
    Jan 7, 2016 at 0:30
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    @Richard: I don't need scientific sense; I can suspend my disbelief. I just can't obliterate it entirely. Just some basic logical narrative sense would do. :) Jan 7, 2016 at 1:06
  • I had an impression that the base was draining all energy from the star it was orbiting to power its capacitors. Thus the star had no power to heat it.
    – TimSparrow
    Sep 18, 2017 at 9:59

It originally didn't get much sunlight

Later materials identify Starkiller Base as having been built out of the planet Ilum, the planet used by the Jedi for their lightsaber crystals, which had already been an ice planet. Its original sun was Asar, which, according to the The Clone Wars episode "The Gathering", only rose on Ilum every nineteen days. It hasn't been established what this means astronomically (wouldn't some part of the planet always be exposed to the sun? maybe the Ilum system's cometary cloud is involved?), but the intent seems to be that Ilum was cold because it got very little sun.

Once the planet was converted into Starkiller Base, it was able to travel between systems to drain other stars, presumably including the star it drains near the end of The Force Awakens.

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