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I have read that the phial contained a part of Eärendil's star, but do we know how that came to be in Galadriel's possession?

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The phial did not contain part of Eärendil's star, it contained light from it (Farewell to Lórien):

She held up a small crystal phial: it glittered as she moved it, and rays of white light sprang from her hand. 'In this phial,' she said, 'is caught the light of Eärendil's star, set amid the waters of my fountain.'

Therefore there is no difficulty here.

To clarify re: the storage of light; Earendil's star was the light of the Silmaril (which Beren and Lúthien stole from Morgoth), which in turn contained the light from the Two Trees. The answer to how light could be stored is therefore: "it's magic".

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    Earendil's star shone down on the fountain. I'm not sure there's any point in looking for a more "mechanical" explanation. – Matt Gutting Mar 19 '15 at 13:01
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    Better not go that techie line that much, otherwise Neill De' Grasse Tyson might object how the premise is astronomically inaccurate and prove that the Light of Earendil is nothing but a battery operated bulb... – RicoRicochet Mar 19 '15 at 13:03
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    @RicoRicochet - Neill De'Grasse Tyson... or, as Rodney McKay puts it, "The man who killed Pluto." – Omegacron Mar 19 '15 at 15:06
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    @Omegacron - indeed.. but the man who killed Pluto could simply put out the light of Earendil as well :P – RicoRicochet Mar 20 '15 at 4:20

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