How Many Light Bulbs are in the Death Star?
Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, May 4th, marks the worldwide celebration of the saga fans have come to know and love as Star Wars. In order to spread good luck and fortune, it is my great pleasure to say, “May the fourth be with you.” Between reminiscing about the harrowing escapes and the daring lightsaber battles, we here at 1000Bulbs had an odd thought, “How many light bulbs does it take to light the Death Star?” With the help of stolen blueprints, today we hope to shed some light on the topic.
In Star Wars Episode IV, the Death Star is the Galactic Empire’s weaponized battle station, which has the capability of erasing planets from existence. Besides being a planet-sized military base, the Death Star battle station is the cozy home to 300,000 Imperial Navy and Army personnel, 25,000 Storm Troopers, and two million support personnel, each of whom got their own room within three months. With a crew of nearly 2.4 million people on board, the base, commonly mistaken for a small moon, would require some serious lighting. According to the stolen blueprints Princess Leia Organa intercepted from a transmission, we calculated the Death Star (DS-1) has approximately 2,609,960,630 sq. ft. of usable space.
How Many Lumens Does the Death Star Need?
For this calculation, we are not including doorways, control panels, elevators, lights on the outside of the structure, or that one fortuitous trash compactor; we are only estimating how many light bulbs are needed for the main overhead lighting. Even though the commanders of the Imperial Forces may seem dark and ominous, they are avid readers of our blog and choose to spend their spare time reading our articles, including, “How Many Lumens Do I Need?” Given our recommendation of 5,000 lumens for every 250 sq. ft. space, the Death Star requires around 52,199,212,600 lumens. A high school football field typically needs around 153,000 initial lumens to be adequately lit, so the Death Star requires approximately as much lighting as 341,171 fields.
To put that number into perspective, if we were to use a standard incandescent 60-watt A19 household bulb, the Death Star would need approximately 79,089,716 incandescent light bulbs and would consume around 4,745,382,960 watts when completely powered on. However, we heard that Darth Vader found this lack of energy efficiency “disturbing” and chose to upgrade to LED. By switching to the 9.5-watt A19 LED alternative, Darth Vader can light the Death Star with only 751,352,302 watts, cutting his energy bill by 84.17%.
How Many Light Bulbs to Light the Death Star?
Those A19s are only the start. There are at least 327 confirmed docking bays in the Death Star. Using Docking Bay 327 as reference, there are 24 guide lights in the floor, at least 66 lights on the wall, 178 feet of rope light to encircle the opening, and at least 12 other decorative lights. Even though the blueprints were corrupted during transmission, we think we can make out a total 400 docking bays for a total of 475 spools of 150 ft. rope light and 40,800 light bulbs (not counting control panels). Each bay has a cargo elevator with 14 lights around the rim and eight lights every six feet down the shaft. Since the lift stops at each hangar, we’re calculating that the elevator only goes down one level (.337 km). The lift adds an additional 1,474 lights per docking bay.
Main overhead lighting: 79,089,716 light bulbs
Hangars: 630,400 light bulbs and 475 spools of 150 ft. rope light
Desk lamps for crew: 2,325,000 light bulbs
Control panels: Unknown
Trash compactor: 8 light bulbs
At minimum, the Death Star would use 82,045,124 light bulbs inside the fortress. However, the lights embedded in the numerous hallways of everyone’s favorite planet- annihilating abode are pretty much unknown to us. The same way Chewie, Han, and Luke dashed from hallway to hallway, looking for a way to blow this popsicle stand, this is where the plot hole occurs in our calculations. The vast array of control panels is also unknown, although if Vader ever needs any, we do stock a wonderful selection of LED mini indicator bulbs for every evil overlord’s “flashing red button” needs. During the process of estimating the number of installed wall lights and figuring out how to keep all the floor lights (because we think Vader is a secret MJ fan and has a thing for lit-floors), we realized we just don’t have enough information to make an informed guesstimate about the number and size of the hallways we are dealing with or how many rooms might contain a panel of little, blinking lights. We are shelving that math until we find a way to run an accurate and logical comparison calculation.
Impact of LEDs on the Death Star
Coupled with the switch to LEDs, we heard that not only did the Imperial Force have the opportunity to save money but their lighting conditions greatly improved. One Death Star pilot couldn’t help but express his delight for his newly improved work space by stating, “I can see my control panel better.” Imperial researchers also concluded the Storm Troopers’ poor accuracy was a direct result of poor lighting conditions during training. Targets are more visible, with the help of the new lighting, which increased overall Storm Trooper accuracy by 120%. Unfortunately, when transmitting the great news, Princess Leia Organa once again intercepted the message and relayed the information to the Rebel Alliance. It is no wonder Luke Skywalker and his red squadron got there so fast and destroyed the battle station.
Are you a disgruntled Storm Trooper trying to escape Senator Palpatine aka Darth Sidious’ reign? Have a different approach to figure out the square footage and number of light bulbs needed to light the Death Star? Did you ever find the droids you were looking for? Feel free to let us know by leaving us a comment in the section below. For more jokes and articles on lighting check back on our blog or keep in touch with us on our Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.