Science has revealed more about when, exactly, the Star Wars movies take place. Every non-spinoff Star Wars film opens the same iconic text – “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” It’s a phrase that’s nearly synonymous with the franchise and almost immediately gives that sense of history and wonder to it. The time period and setting of Star Wars is a beautiful and economical mystery, but some fans want hard answers.

Patrick Johnson’s book, “The Physics of Star Wars: The Science Behind a Galaxy Far, Far Away”, attempts to apply real-world science to a universe with literal magical space monks. The chosen passage takes a look at the known planets, elements ...

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