The lightsaber is a self contained unit approximately 12" (30cm) in length. It includes its own power source, which may be capable of extended periods of use without recharge. It produces a powerful cutting blade of just over a metre in length, which can cut through ALMOST anything, but not without some resistance.
TURNING IT ON AND OFF
On the average lightsaber, a switch/button is located half way up the saber base. Some sabers, however, have been altered by their makers to have "on switches" including, but not limited to:
THE BLADE - Broad overview
*Use of telekinetics to turn it on/off
*Fake switches -
~sabers can be armed with special mechanisms that, if not turnde on the proper way, expel some sort of trap (ie, and explosion, spikes, needless, acids, ect..)
*Secret switches, hidden around the saber itself.
~sabers can be equipt with many buttons, to fool others, or confuse then on which turns the saber 'on'.
~saber can be equipt to only be able to ignite after a series of specific buttons are pressed (ie, a code to turn the saber on).
Upon activation, an energy 'blade' extends outward in a straight line for a length of 3-4' (100+cm). The blade is a tightly coherent and Opague rod, with a slightly rounded 'tip'. This 'core' rod is about 1" (2.5cm) in diameter - about the thickness of an adult males' thumb. There may be an even smaller 'cutting core' within this, which might explain the almost invisibly thin cuts made by Luke's sabre during the fight in the Dune Sea. A considerable amount of glow flares out from the rod in all directions. This glow dies out very quickly as you move further from the core, and a lightsaber is of no practical use for lighting an area. When swung about, the blade seems to occupy far more space than it really does, due to the residual phosphorescent image left on the human eye by the passage of such a brightly lit object.
A SABER IS NOT AN OPTICAL PHENOMENON
A further clue to the nature of lightsabres is their seemingly 'material' interaction. They are opaque to blaster bolts! A true laser beams can readily pass straight through another, and a lump of plasma can be easily passed through a laser beam without hindrance. These blades are NOT just light. The blades may not pass through one another either. They not only block the passage of one another, but seem to 'cling' and interact with considerable amounts of waste energy thrown off as sparks, noise and light bursts.
It must be stated here that the lightsabre is NOT simply a 'laser' sword.
The glow that a lightsaber produces has not been specifically determined. Some belive it to be the molecules in the air being disolved at incredible speed. Others say it is the decay of the 'particles' of which the blade is made, as they 'spin away' from the cutting core. Perhaps the glow is a deliberate effect, designed to allow visual tracking and control of this dangerous weapon - much like Tracer rounds in a machine gun. Fact of the matter be that no one KNOWS why a saber produces the glow.
A SABERS SHADOW
As stated above, the lightsabre blade is NOT 'just' laser; it is probably an exotic high-energy plasmoid. The glow it emits is a side effect. It is often observed that this glow only carries a short distance, you cannot easily light a room with a lightsaber. It is also known that the sabre blade is opaque to other energies such as blaster bolts.
So, you would Expect that a lightsaber blade would block ordinary visible light from passing through it, creating a shadow. The Totally canonical ANH-Novel describes the blade as 'opaque'. You would further expect that the glow of the lightsaber would eliminate this shadow, but only against CLOSE surfaces. If the lightsaber is held several metres away from a surface, such as the floor, and it is lit from a behind by a bright source, then you must EXPECT to see a shadow.
There are several overhead shots in RoTJ where it can be plainly seen that Lord Vader and Luke's lightsabres cast shadows. This is usually written up as a movie blooper - after all, how can light throw shadow? Fortunately this shot was NOT modified by the Special Edition guys, if anything, the sabre shadows seem crisper and sharper!
The lightsabres in the Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, trailer clearly cast sharp and clear shadows. Sabre blades BLOCK visible light - they are NOT simple optical devices, they are NOT lasers.
LIGHT does NOT block light! LIGHT does NOT block high-enegy weapons. Lightsabres are NOT 'just light'.
SABERS - FOR NON-FORCE USERS
Anyone can use a saber.
A SABER IS NOT THERMAL
As can be expected, a force user will have better control over the weapon, due to advanced senses and cooridination through the force. This does not mena a non-force user has no ability with a saber.
In TESB, Han Solo uses a saber, though he was not a force user. Any skilled swordsman would be able to wield a lightsaber with proper practice. The lightsabre is a piece of TECHNOLOGY, not a piece of The Force made manifest.
The sabre is not a thermal effect. At least, if it is, it is contained. The blade does not put out any discernible heat near its boundary. The hilt is not hot. Regardless of excellent insulation technology that probably exists in the Star Wars galaxy (starship hulls and armour, etc...) - it must be recognised that the saber is not a 'heat' weapon.
However: objects that have been cut by a saber exhibit burn-like symptoms, and MOST cuts on organics are cauterized. There is clearly a heat-like effect at work within the core of the sabre blade - as you'd expect from a 'pure energy' weapon.
HEAT is simply the excited motion of molecules ... heat MAKES molecules move, and visa-versa. If you can make molecules move, you get heat. This is the principle of magnetic-induction cooking ranges - and of microwave ovens. The 'burning' seen on cut objects may not mean that the interior of the blade is 'hot' per se, perhaps it merely excites the molecules during the cutting process!
REGARDING "HOT" SABRES
~ MELTING DOOR ~
Some may recall the incident from ''The Phantom Menace'' where a saber blade is seen to ''melt'' a metal door.
THIS DOES *NOT* PROVE THE BLADE IS *HOT* ... if the action of the blade in destroying the fabric of the metal EXCITES the molecules around the point of destruction, then heat will be INDUCED from this excitement. The door is actually MELTING ITSELF.
This is NOT such a strange notion ... after all, INDUCTION COOKTOPS exist that heat metal saucepans without being ''hot'' themselves ... MICROWAVE OVENS cause heat in food without actually pumping "heat" at them, they simply EXCITE the molecules within the food ... if you apply a metal-file to a work-piece of metal, BOTH get hot, but NEITHER was hot to start with!
in short: you dont need HEAT to make something HOT! :^)
The saber blade - despite its broad glowing corona, and its apparent thickness of an adult thumb, seems to make extremely fine cuts. In the ANH-novel creatures are cut in half down the middle, yet remain standing for several seconds apparently unharmed. In RoTJ, Jabba's henchmen are dispatched with barely a mark upon their bodies!
A SABER IS NOT BENDABLE
The central core, the 'cutting' part of the saber is probably very fine indeed.
The blade remains thoroughly RIGID - regardless of how vigorously it is waved about or jostled
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