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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:16 pm 
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OK so if there was such a thing a a laser gun.. would it's projectile not be at the speed of light? I mean a laser is what? Light? Condensed somehow?
Can someone explain to me what a actual laser beam would be or is? Been wondering about this as watching star wars.. them shots moved pretty slow don't you think? I would think an actual laser beam would be far to fast to actually see, regardless of it's color, it would dwarf a bullet's speed.. by what 10000x times at least?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:07 pm 
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A laser beam would move at the speed of light and normally would be the color of the wavelength of the lasing material or the tuned output of the emitter. For security, you would probably use IR, UV, or X-ray, given that they can't be seen. Light is composed of photons and is both a wave and a particle, so it does have some mass, but the key to damage is energy, wavelength, and focus.

If you look at the current high energy lasers in use today by the Navy, you'll see something that looks like an elongated spotlight. When it fires, there is no visible beam.

A laser would emit at 300,000km/s, while a bullet fired from a M-16 travels at perhaps 993m/s, or .993km/s.

What you might see if the beam was by a laser emitting in the visible spectrum would be a beam connecting the emitter and the target for as long as the beam is active. This part is important. Lasers today don't just fire a .000000001 second burst (a bolt about 3 meters long, say the length of an X-wing's shot), they need to put the laser on target and then keep it there, often for several seconds to tens of seconds to heat the target and then achieve burn-through to damage what's inside. The ABL-1, the Airborne Laser that was developed in the early 2000s to intercept missiles in their boost phase, had to keep the primary laser on target for multiple seconds just to burn through the skin of a missile.

When shooting a living target, where the beam will connect directly to tissue, what happens is that the energy in the beam is converted to heat and essentially the cells in the effected area explode due to the liquid being turned into steam.

So...I wouldn't quote Star Wars on a physics test about lasers. ;-)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:55 pm 
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However, in defense of Star Wars and other 'sci-fi' shows...

Words change meaning over time and location. What Star Wars calls a turbolaser may actually be a colloquial use of the term laser, not the actual dictionary definition of a "light amplified by stimulated emission of radiation."

Or think of it this way. Say you start with something like the laser on ABL-1, which takes several seconds to burn through relatively thin metal. Next, someone comes up with a way of adding something to the laser that increases the destructive power but slows the beam down slightly. Is it still a laser if its only traveling 99.99% of lightspeed with slight mass? Now, imagine successive generations of this process until you have Star Destroyers sporting hundreds of these slower than light, weighted beam weapons. Could you still call them a laser weapon then?

All that to answer ShadowTek with this: it depends. Define laser in whatever universe you are talking about.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:24 pm 
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Star Wars "lasers" are probably not lasers, their shots richochet and have momentum and a maximum range, and other attributes that sound more like plasma weapons, lightsabers are probably plasma constructs too.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:59 am 
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Thanks for the responses guys! Some great insight.


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