Princess Leia Is 2 Years Older Than Her Twin Brother, Says Science
If you’ve seen Interstellar then you know that space travel can make you age more slowly—to the point where upon return to your home planet, everyone you know and love is dead or nearly so. Blame Einstein. It’s his theory of relativity we have to thank for this phenomenon. And for a recent academic paper out of the University of Leicester about the two-year age gap between twins Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa.
Published in the Journal of Physics Special Topics, the theory of Luke and Leia’s transition from fraternal twins to Irish twins uses their separate journeys to Cloud City to illustrate the resulting age difference. Here’s their math:
“Leia travels from the neighbouring system of Anoat, while Luke travels from the much more distant planet Dagobah. Luke’s journey was ~7 days travel in his own reference frame, which was estimated to be 25 times longer than Leia’s, making her journey 0.28 days (6.72 hours) in her own reference frame. Additionally, as Leia travels in the Millennium Falcon, a much larger ship with more powerful engines than Luke’s X-Wing Starfighter, it was assumed that it reaches a higher velocity of 0.99999c compared to the 0.99995c achieved by the X-Wing.
Leia’s journey yields a time dilation of 62.6 days, which at a much faster speed means she is younger than Luke for the duration. However Luke’s journey is much longer so over this period of time he ages slower than Leia, as she is stationary once she arrives at Cloud City. The time dilation Luke experiences whilst travelling is 700.8 days (1.92 years). Luke is therefore 638.2 days younger than Leia.”
Weird, right? Though possibly not the weirdest thing about their relationship…
Of course, none of this is acknowledged in the original trilogy. We can only hope that an astrophysicist was on the payroll for Star Wars: The Force Awakens so that no oversight this grave will find its way into J.J. Abrams’ forthcoming film. Nothing pulls you out of a story like the omission of crucial information pertaining to relativistic time dilation.