From the old canon but also non canon sources it always seemed to me that you can't get into hypserspace too near to a gravity well (canon it is with the interdictor class ship in rebels but also a few comments here and there in the films).

But now there was a hyperjump right into far within a gravity well.

Is there any explanation anywhere for this? Or was that just artistic freedom that it could work?

I'm talking about when Han solo hyperjumped into the atmosphere of the planet the starkiller base is located on. That is WAY within the planets gravity well I would dare say as he is almost at ground level there.

  • Could you clarify, where did someone jump INTO hyperspace while deep in gravity well? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 24 '15 at 6:58
  • @dvk added what I reference in a spoiler tag – Thomas Dec 24 '15 at 6:58
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    Then I don't understand your question at all, sorry. You can't jump TO hyperspace. They aren't jumping TO hyperspace, they are EXITING it. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 24 '15 at 7:01
  • @dvk From how I understood how interdictions work (from rebels) and also other comments it is so that you are thrown out of hyperspace at the edge of the gravity well. And if that said well is a sun........ouch. The problem with that one scene is that ehy are far WITHIN said gravity well when they exit.....and they exit not because they are thrown out but on their own decision that is what I'm not gettin gthere – Thomas Dec 24 '15 at 7:03
  • @Thomas - ah, got it now. Good question!!! catch the (possible and not very satisfying) answer :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 24 '15 at 7:14

Novelization by Alan Dean Foster clarifies what happened.

They didn't exit hyperspeed/hyperspace on the surface of the planet.

They approached the planet at lightspeed to be able to get through the planetary shields (which aren't right on the surface), THEN slowed down.

“No planetary defense system can be sustained at a constant rate. It would take too much power. Besides, it isn’t necessary. All planetary shields have a fractional refresh. Instead of being constantly ‘on,’ they fluctuate at a predetermined rate. Keeps anything traveling less than lightspeed from getting through. Theoretically, a ship could get its nose in when a shield is off. Half a second later, the shield snaps back on and—well, it isn’t good for anyone on that ship.”
“Okay, I get that,” Finn told him. “Which brings me back to my first question: How are we getting in? Without being cut in half by an oscillating shield?”
“Easy.” The way Han said the word made it sound like the simplest thing in the world. “We won’t be going slower than lightspeed.” Unsure he’d heard correctly, Finn gaped at him. “We’re gonna make our landing approach at lightspeed? Nobody’s ever done that! At least, I’ve never heard of anybody ever doing it.” ...
Han smiled pleasantly. “We’re coming up on the system. I’d sit down, if I were you. Chewie, get ready.”
As the wide-eyed Finn scrambled for a seat and harness and found himself wishing for a number of very large, soft pads, Chewbacca groaned his readiness. Han studied the readouts before him. The Wookiee raised a hand over his own console.
“And…” Han followed the declining fractions intently. “Now!”
Human and Wookiee hands flew over the main console, supplementing as best they could the approach and landing information they had preprogrammed into the Falcon’s instrumentation. Not unexpectedly, more than one last-second override was required in order to make the ship do something that was against its nature and perform maneuvers for which it had never been designed.
And just like that, they were inside the shields.
At that point they were traveling at very much sublightspeed, continuing to slow at an incredible rate, and heading above snow-covered ground directly for a forest that was not as tall but was far denser than the one on D’Qar. Chewbacca howled loudly enough for Finn to hear him clearly above the wild, blaring alarms.

Now, confusingly, it doesn't say that they dropped out of hyperspace at any specific point here, BUT, we can be pretty sure that they did, because eventually they maneuvered. You don't maneuver in Hyperspace.

This tells us that they exited hyperspace somewhere outside the planet once they bypassed its shield (and presumably, still outside gravity well), then continued on to fly in sub-lightspeed towards the surface.

However, this happened so fast, you wouldn't notice the difference visually in the film. Sub-second transitions.

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    I always had thought that "lightspeed" meant hyperspace here (as they never mentioned hyperspace directly in any of the films as far as I remember) – Thomas Dec 24 '15 at 7:15
  • @Thomas - good point. I'll adjust the analysis. It still KINDA makes sense even so. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 24 '15 at 7:16
  • no problem. I ahve marked your answer as correct btw as that is I think how far we can get there with the resources at hands we have anyway (short of a comment by the script writers themselves) – Thomas Dec 24 '15 at 7:26
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    It kind of makes me curious how they were able to slow from lightspeed, then. I guess maybe they tried to take off via hyperspace again, but the gravity well turned it into brakes? – Wayne Werner Jan 6 '16 at 16:57

This was addressed in the junior novel Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space: The Snare. In short, a ship in hyperspace approaching a gravity well isn't pulled out of hyperspace by a natural force, it's exited by the Drive Computer as a safety feature (e.g. to prevent you from blowing up or being ripped apart).

Lina thought quickly. ‘Not if we jump to hyperspace.’
‘But we’re still in Thune’s atmosphere.’
‘Mistress Lina,’ CR-8R chipped in. ‘As well you know, the hyperdrive engines won’t fire within the gravitational pull of a planet. The safety protocols will activate.’
‘Not if we turn them off.’CR-8R’s head snapped around so fast, Milo thought it might explode. ‘You can’t do that!’
Lina nodded. ‘Actually, I can. When I got the main generator working. I had to by-pass the safety cut-outs. We could do the same for the jump to lightspeed, stop the computer switching the engines off. It’s simple.’
‘But highly dangerous!’ the droid added.
‘Only if we blow up.’
‘Is that possible?’ Milo asked.
‘Either that or the ship falls apart in hyperspace.’

As long as you're willing to accept this risk, and have sufficient control over your Drive Computer, you can jump to hyperspace (and presumably exit from hyperspace) as near to a planet as you like.

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I've always assumed hyperspace had nothing to do with traveling at or beyond the speed of light but rather than moving through space the ship was altering the way space/time moved around the ship. But to say the ship is approaching the planet at light speed is ridiculous. You would need years to decelerate. To get an idea of what it would take, read Kim Stanley Gardner's AURORA. In the book, at less than one percent light speed the ship entered the solar system and it took a year to decelerate.

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    Does this have backing from within the series? Hyperspace in Star Wars does not necessarily work in an intuitive or physical manner. – Adamant Oct 15 '16 at 23:58
  • I wonder honestly what this answer has to do with the question at all? – Thomas Oct 19 '16 at 14:38

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