If we consider another possibility, like one inspired by the processes inside our Sun, suddenly the Death Star doesn’t seem so implausible. Deep inside the core of the Sun, a total of 3.8 × 1026 joules of energy are released every second: a number that’s much closer to the power required to destroy an Alderaan-like world. If we could somehow harness the energy equivalent of what the Sun puts out over the course of a week and release it all in one shot, we could gravitationally unbind the atoms and molecules that hold a planet together.

That, too, might be an impractical task, but if we look at how the Sun gets its energy, we can easily find the key to unlocking such a literal doomsday weapon as the Death Star.