The odds of successfully surviving an attack on an Imperial Star Destroyer are approximately…

By Phil Plait | January 7, 2012 7:00 am

Never tell me the odds!

Yegads. I saw this while I was outside the other day; that’s a lenticular cloud, shaped by winds blowing over the Rocky Mountains. We see a lot of them around Boulder, but this one looked really familiar. I suddenly realized: it’s a ship from Star Wars!

I thought it looked a lot like Queen Amidala’s ship. But I couldn’t be sure, so I sent a note to my pal Bonnie Burton, aka BonnieGrrl, the proprietor of grrl.com, and major Star Wars dork. She concurred with my conclusion of the cloud looking like a Naboo Royal Starship (I was careful not to bias her by suggesting it; she mentioned it herself). And Bonnie should know: she literally wrote the book on Star Wars crafts!

Still, it looked like another ship from Star Wars, too… maybe even one that might be carrying Vader himself. If that’s the case, I know which cloud I could really use now!

Moisture and updrafts matter not. Look at me. Judge me by my convection do you? Hmm? Hmmm?


Related posts:

May the cumulus be with you
Lenticular clouds over the Boulder foothills
Windswept clouds over Boulder
Cloud Busting

Comments (37)

  1. Mike

    > I saw this while I was outside the other day; that’s a lenticular cloud

    That’s no cloud…

  2. Dave L

    Maybe; but when I glanced at the picture, my first reaction was to grab a towel and hope I could find a Babelfish.

  3. James

    Youre not the droid they were looking for…

  4. See, for me, that’s the keel and third bridge of the Yamato materializing mid-warp – and it looks kinda like the sky could be water and we’re under the ship.

    http://www.shipschematics.net/yamato/images/edf/battleship_yamato.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiDQX12RTXE

  5. mark

    The geek is strong in this one.

  6. bystander

    The Naboo Starship looks a lot like an SR71 Blackbird.

  7. Robin Byron

    “What are we going to do? We’ll be sent to the spice mines of Kessel and smashed into who knows what.”

  8. noen

    The power of suggestion is amazing because I would not have thought it looked like an Imperial Destroyer without first having it suggested that’s what it is. Now I can see nothing else. Sort of like how you don’t hear what is supposed to be the message in a pop song played backwards until someone tells you what it’s supposed to be.

    Life it funny like that.

  9. Joe Shuster

    To quote the Mercury Cloaked Spaceship guy, “There’s really, absolutely no other explanation for that than some sort of ship.”

  10. When I was a kid, I used to love drawing pictures of Star Destroyers in distress – slicing through clouds, crashing into mountains, all assuming that they weren’t designed to work as atmospheric craft. This was when I discovered that pencil-on-formica is a great (albeit very temporary) way to get nice effects.

  11. Hevach

    Probably says more about my preferred science fiction franchise, but looks more like a Suurok-class to me.

  12. Mike Saunders

    How come all the fighters and star ships in star wars are always flying in space with the cockpits and bridges all pointed in the same direction (“up”). Seems like in a real space situation this would be more trouble to do than its worth.

  13. Haha! That’s excellent. Wish the weather round here did interesting things like this.

  14. I have a bad feeling about this…

  15. amphiox

    Mike Saunders, I think in a real space situation there wouldn’t be any visible cockpits or bridges on the outer surface of ships. Such critical and vulnerable areas would be buried safe deep within the center of the craft. It’s not like a window for naked eye observation is going to be that helpful anyways.

  16. “That’s no cloud! It’s a space station!”

    Ok, that’s about as good as it’ll get from me.

  17. @13 Mike Saunders: Actually, that much might make sense if you have ships piloted by humans. At the very least, the situation is easier for the humans in charge to visualize. If you’re in close formation, a case of “No, I meant MY left!” might cause a nasty incident. Of course, you’d expect that at that tech level, everything would be at least vetted by computers…

  18. James

    I saw this picture and thought of the Trident Class ship from Star Trek Online:

    http://www.stowiki.org/images/4/41/Deep_Space_Vessel.jpg

  19. gopher65

    I see where you’re coming from, but to me it looks like a front view of the ventrile section of the saucer section of a galaxy class starship, in mid turn, while exiting a nebula.

  20. Monkey

    Within your glib joke and meteorological wispy comments, you pass by the obvious….its a Care Bear Ship, waiting to take us over.Who else could construct such nefarious ships of cloud!?!? Who?!!??

    :)

    Awesome pic, by the way. Clouds rock!

  21. @16 Amphiox: I was going to recommend this game called Space Combat, made by the same folks who made X-Plane, but it’s been discontinued. I have no clue why, as it was always free, but I can’t even find a place to download it :( If you can find it though, it’s quite nifty. It’s rigorously realistic, that is, no “friction”, no drag, acceleration in any direction is dependent on thrusters, etc. Neat idea, I wish I could find it.

  22. Messier Tidy Upper

    The odds of successfully surviving an attack on an Imperial Star Destroyer are approximately…

    .. Cloudy? ;-)

    (Because they depend on a whole lot of factors from whether your flying in the Millennium Falcon or not, whether you’re a Jedi, whether the stormtroopers have finally passed their shooting courses*, etc.)

    Neat picture. Nothing quite like the fun of seeing things in clouds – and campfires too!

    @5. mike : ” See, for me, that’s the keel and third bridge of the Yamato materializing mid-warp..”

    Ah, great reference to my fave childhood cartoon. Like. :-)

    ———————————————————————–

    * My fave line in the whole Star Wars series :

    “..and these blast points too precise to be anything other than the work of Imperial Storm-troopers.” Or suchlike said by Old Ben Kenobi at teh destroyed Jawa crawler.

    After which, naturally, those well trained and equipped military clones seem unable to hit a barn door with a shotgun from nearly point blank range! ;-)

  23. TMB

    I had the same reaction as DaveL!

    Phil, you going to AAS?

  24. RMR

    Cool pic, thought it looked a bit like a Machariel from EVE

    http://images.wikia.com/eve/images/d/d4/Machariel1.jpg

  25. Brian G

    After you mentioned it looked like a Star Destroyer, I thought the cloud beneath it made it look like it was overtaking the Tantive IV.

  26. Wildride

    On second thought, let’s not go to Coruscant — It’s a silly place.

  27. db26

    To me it looks like the Hindenburg …I think it’s crashing!

  28. @23 MTU: * My fave line in the whole Star Wars series :

    “..and these blast points too precise to be anything other than the work of Imperial Storm-troopers.”

    Or suchlike said by Old Ben Kenobi at teh destroyed Jawa crawler.

    After which, naturally, those well trained and equipped military clones seem unable to hit a barn door with a shotgun from nearly point blank range!

    Now, to be fair, by “blast points” he may have been referring to some sort of breaching charges. Maybe the Empire has great explosives experts, but it’s just hard to aim at anything in those helmets ;)

  29. Geomaniac
  30. Jon

    I think it’s an ordinary Star Destroyer – upside down. See, they’ve got artificial gravity; They don’t care which way is up.

    J.

  31. A Naboo star destroyer? Wait, I thought you said a ship from Star Wars?

    (Last three films do not count as “Star Wars.”)

  32. 32.33% … repeating of course

  33. ChuckB

    If it’s carrying Darth Vader, then it must be the Super Star Destroyer “Executor” . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SW_Executor_01.jpg

  34. Andres Minas

    It’s the anti Naboo Royal Starship’s (NRS) shadow condensed in a cloud. The anti NRS happens to pass in our galaxy, picked up the strong radio signals from terrestrial TVs and came to investigate how in the world Bonnie knew about the NRS. Oh Lord! Now we’re in trouble!!

  35. Darth Stratus

    It might be a Nubian design, but my vote is for the Mon Calamari 80 Liberty Type Star Cruiser. Beware flying (space) fish :)

    http://www.moddb.com/mods/ultimate-empire-at-war/images/rebel-alliance-capital-ships

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