WHEREAS Star Wars is an American film, and
WHEREAS its entire conceptual universe is therefore American, and
WHEREAS us Americans don't spell some things the same way y'all Brits do and
WHEREAS the Star Wars mythology is well-nigh holy to Americans, and
WHEREAS there is a general feeling that things considered holy should be universally respected,

It is RESOLVED that the only acceptable spelling, worldwide, for the weapon of the Jedi is:


that is all

A lightsaber is an energy blade originating from the movies/books/series known worldwide as STAR WARS. The idea for Star Wars was originally George Lucas', but many people have added stories and details into the rich world of Star Wars. Exar Kun, a Jedi Knight-turned-Dark Lord of the Sith, built a lightstaff, or dual-emitter-lightsaber. He modified his lightsaber, adding a second emitter matrix to the butt of his lightsaber, enabling him to weild the 'saber like a quarterstaff. In the movie Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul fights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn using a similar lightstaff.
If you wish, /msg WonkoTheSane and I'll add another writeup dealing with lightstaves.

Among the Old Republic's many legends, none endure more than the stories of the Jedi Knights and their incredible lightsabers.

A lightsaber's handgrip is usually twenty-four to thirty centimeters long and features a mirrorlike concave metal disk, known as a blade emitter, at one end. Controls include an activation lever, a recharge socket, diagnostic readouts, and in some of the weapons, blade length/intensity controls. Opening the small access panel reveals a tiny but very sophisticated power cell as well as at least one - and sometimes many - high quality, multifaceted jewels.

A lightsaber's jewel(s) focus the power cell's energy charge into a tight parallel beam that emerges from the blade emitter as a vibrant blade of pure energy. The blade is a closed energy loop. It's amplitude determines when the energy beam arcs back to the negatively charged high-energy flux aperature that rings the outer edge of the lightsabre's concave disk. The power cell can last for years because it is fed by the energy that enters the flux aperature; the weapon loses energy only when it makes contact with another object.

The lightsaber's deadly energy blade can cut through almost any substance. Because the blade itself has no weight and emits no heat, a novice may easily miscalculate its path. A Jedi Knight undertakes years of study to master the weapon, developing the skill that allows him or her to block incoming blaster bolts or fend of more than a dozen attackers.

Each lightsaber is custom built, normally by the Jedi student as one of the tests of an appretice's skills. After his disasterous defeat at Cloud City, Luke Skywalker retired to Obi-Wan Kenobi's hut on Tatooine to build his new lightsabre, perhaps hoping that the familiar and comfortable place would provide solace as he grappled with the knowledge that Darth Vader might be his father.

Lightsabers are also known to make a distinctive buzzing sound when swung through the air, no matter what the speed of the blade. When two lightsabers collide, a great amount of energy is released, putting a great strain on the power packs, as the lightsabers attempt to cut through each other. A sharp, hissing, electric clap is emitted, in addition to a flash of light, when the energy blades of different lightsabres collide. Although no heat is radiated beyond the light shaft, a wound from a lightsabre is instantly cauterized by the great heat. Qui-Gon Jinn used the heat energy potential of his lightsabre to melt a door down in The Phantom Menace.

Most lightsabers have customized features such as pressure-sensitive activation levers (the blade will disappear after the user lets it go, and simply holding the lightsabre will activate the blade: no need to fiddle with a switch) and multiple crystals that enable the user to alter the amplitude and length of the blade. The lightsabre's handgrip is as much a work of art as a practical weapon, often featuring a design native to the Jedi's homeworld or built by the student in a style reminiscent of his master's lightsabre.

The Jedi drew their lightsabers only as a last resort - when negotiations failed to resolve a dispute peacefully - but their skills were unquestioned once these magnificent energy blades flashed. The Empire nearly succeeded in exterminating the Jedi, but Luke Skywalker has been training a new generation of Jedi Knights, who proudly wield their lightsabers in defense of the New Republic, reaffirming traditions of courage and honor that have endured for a thousand generations.

Thanks to George Lucas for having a good idea, and to everyone at E2 for making this site awesome. This information was stolen from cited from STAR WARS: The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology by Bill Smith.

Lightsabers are known to come in four colors. There's no functional significance to this; one color is just as effective and deadly as any other, although you might expect otherwise if you remember anything from your advanced chemistry classes. Each color merely serves to denote the rank and/or allegiance of its owner:

It is actually worth noting when a particular Jedi in the "Star Wars" movies switch from one color to another. Luke Skywalker used a blue lightsaber up until Return of the Jedi, when he built his own green one, having graduated in his own mind to the rank of full Jedi; the young Obi-Wan Kenobi used Qui-Gon Jinn's green lightsaber for the first time following his master's death, killing Darth Maul to both symbolically and literally graduate to the rank of Jedi Knight.

Now, it seems the green/blue distinction is not 100% reliable in Attack of the Clones, although the blue-is-Jedi/green-is-not distinction does hold true more often than not. In addition, the non-canonical books and games sometimes suggest or outright state that lightsaber color is entirely an individual choice or a product of the actual crystals used to generate the laser blade--Nekojin tells me that one book character, Corran Horn, actually has a silver lightsaber.

I'd be prepared to accept this, if it weren't for the fact that every "good" Jedi in the movies seems to use carry either a blue or green sword, excepting only Mace Windu. (It's probably worth pointing out that no canonical source of Star Wars information endorses this color-denotes-rank scheme.) So where are all the orange, yellow and pink lightsabers? Too feminine for most Jedi's sense of fashion? (We'll leave the tangential question of why there aren't any female Jedi to another node.)

(Side note: Shro0m informs me that Samuel Jackson specifically requested a purple lightsaber for Mace Windu, so that he could pick himself out in a crowd better. So while not a very "scientific" reason, it certainly explains why his weapon is so special.)

The concept of a lightsaber is, in itself, a most unlikely and fictional anomaly.

The first theoretic negation of a lightsaber comes from rather common sense. If the blade is composed of a (does quotation fingers) laser, what keeps this weapon from simply reaching infinitely into space as a beam of light actually would by nature? What is actually holding this beam in place?

One theory that is more feasible than simply saying that the lightsaber just "is" would be that the sword is, in actuality, many beams of light. These beams could all have an incredibly close wavelength to each other and be angled slightly towards the center of the handle just shy of a 180 degree angle. When and only when these beams strike each other, the wavelengths could resonate with each other to form a consistent beam. After the point of focus is passed, the beams would again become ineffective. In this way, the lightsaber could just maybe (albeit unlikely) exist as a focus weapon instead of a beam weapon.

Another problem is, of course, if the beams are made of light or other energy, how can one saber stop another? In every Jedi duel, there are almost as many blocks as there are attacks. One brilliant flash later, both fighters emerge unharmed. If the weapon were a true beam or even focus weapon, no matter how powerful the beam, light cannot act as a solid matter beyond the idea of a photon which has a mass much too miniscule to even be reasonably measured by the most modern equipment. This argument is not even taking into account the fact that there is no modern mobile power device capable of maintaining such a high output of energy. This argument finds its fallacies in the "far far away" clause, implying that technological advancements made in the setting of the Star Wars movies have no correlation to the technology of our time and place.

Another interesting point to the lightsaber is the fact that it would be quite easy to weild, requiring almost no strength to lift or swing. However, as any swordsman will tell you, a pivotal aspect of choosing or making a sword is its balance. The typical point of balance for a sword is slightly above where the blade meets the handle. If the blade of a lightsaber has no weight, being composed of energy, the balance would reside at the center of the handle, making the saber very difficult to become accustomed to and/or use.

Summarily, the idea of a lightsaber is, in itself, self-defeating. Although ultimately a very cool device, it is destined to forever remain in the annals of fiction.

It has been established that a lightsaber functions by focusing energy (of some kind) through a central lens (positively charged). When the energy beam reaches the apex of its path, it curves back sharply into the negatively charged outer ring.

It's been asked what contains the beam and gives it substance. I propose that there is an extremely tight and powerful magnetic field around and through the lightsaber blade. The gradient of this magnetic field would be such that bits of iron wouldn't fly towards it from all sides when it's turned on, but it would provide a seemingly solid resistance when struck with another lightsaber because of the negative charges on the outside of each blade. Of course, it would pass through almost anything else quite easily. This powerful magnetic field may also be what protects those that it touches from being electrocuted, simply burned.

The magnetic field would likely be created by the energy of the lightersaber blade when it's turned on and focused by the crystals within the handle.

This explains the sparks and crackling when two lightsabers collide, as electrons are forced between the two blades as the fields weaken and either into the apex of the blade or back into the base.

While it's easy to say 'electron' and 'magnetic field', it doesn't completely explain certain effects like cutting through metal and the fact that no one in the fiction has ever made a lightsaber with an opposite polarity (but why would you want someone's lightsaber to stick to yours? Well, only if it turns off if it's not in his or her hand). It may be that it's something more exotic, like a stretched meson (as proposed in another node), or the field may be a monopole magnetic field (currently impossible; magnets usually have both a North and a South pole).

A monopole magnet may do the job of containment just as well, if it's a postive (North) pole. The positive monopole around the negativly-charged blade surface might give the lightsaber that extra bit of power when it comes in contact with another lightsaber, since more energy could leap across and through the other saber, while retaining the nearly solid resistance of two similar poles against each other.

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