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As noted in the introductory text of the SF index, observations and hypotheses regarding the Superlaser Effect have existed on the site since summer 2002, and the short scenes to be focused on have often surprised me with their ability to offer up a wealth of details not noticed before. Thus, some of what you'll see below and in the pages that follow is brand-new.
It is also worth noting before we begin that some of the observations I have collected were only noticed because I was looking for them, as they were predicted by me when pondering earlier versions of the SF concept. This includes some of the brand-new material. And, of course, some other details were noticed through sheer serendipity.
I have tried to keep it relatively brief (these four pages and several spin-off pages in the DSRP are all based on what was first written as one very large page!). Thus, I have not revisited one well-documented data point that I incorporate in the concept, that being the ~1E38J energy value derived from the Alderaan blast. More information on derivations of the energy of the Alderaan blast can be found on Saxton's Technical Commentaries.
Below are the first few frames of Alderaan's destruction.
The beam strikes the surface, resulting in an extraordinarily bright region which resolves into a fiery-looking blast area at the impact site. Vs. Debater Ted Collins has noted that there is also a slight brightening on the left side of the planet even in the first frame of the hit, as noted in further detail on this page, Objection 6. There, I point out the fact that the glow is primarily in the blue part of the spectrum, which suggests that the additional glow is coming from within Alderaan's atmosphere.
Note also the lack of cloud disruption in the first two frames of the hit. We'll be returning to discuss this later.
B. The Liberty
The Rebel cruiser Liberty was struck by the second Death Star in its opening superlaser shot. In the images below, you can see what occurs at the moments before and just after impact. In the last image, you can see the end of the superlaser beam.
The Liberty is struck amidships toward her starboard wing, immediately causing an explosion. This explosion slowly works toward consuming the ship for seven frames after the last shot above. The superlaser beam terminates after the above frame, meaning that the vessel was struck for a full sixth of a second.
Note the oddness of the lighting effects . . . in the third frame, the explosion is actually darker than the glow on the hull, especially near the edges. This edge effect is also visible in the fourth frame. We would expect a shadow of some sort on the remaining hull from non-luminous (or less luminous) debris.
C. "Rebel Wingless"
When the above Rebel ship is hit (apparently somewhere in the area of her starboard ventral stern), there is another very peculiar lighting effect which occurs. It does not conform to the site of impact, as was at least potentially the case with the Liberty and Alderaan . . . if it were, then we would not be able to see the glow.
D. Synthesis of Section I
First, let's review:
Alderaan gets two overlapping "glows" . . . the obvious light coming from the initial explosion diffused throughout the atmosphere in keeping with the cloud patterns, and the less obvious one that exists in other areas, apparently coming up through the atmosphere and thus presumably originating at or near the surface. As noted on the Alderaan Shield Fallacy page, this is not related to a shield or anything of the sort.
The Liberty, obviously without benefit of an atmosphere, shows just an explosion and also a peculiar glow that renders the explosion 'backlit'. This glow shows no shadowing we would expect from the explosion's darker debris areas, had it been mere reflection of that explosion. Further, the explosion of the Liberty demonstrates that this glow only appears when the target itself has been struck . . . not shields or any other such obstacle. (The same is also true of Alderaan.)
The Wingless gets a glow, and unlike the other two there is simply no way to understand this glow's location as being the result of the reflection or refraction of the explosion light source.
The origin of this glow is unclear. A natural supposition would be that it is heated luminscent material, but this idea does not fit . . . one would expect the glow to also appear on the dorsal stern of the Wingless. Further, this idea would make no sense whatsoever in reference to Alderaan.
In short, there is a consistent effect when a superlaser strikes its target. A peculiar glow appears on each target, one which is not mere reflection of the initial explosion, and one which occurs only when the target itself is struck. No similar ethereal glowing effect has been observed in reference to other Star Wars weapons, ships, or shields. Thus, there is a clear correlation between superlaser impact and the glow.
The only way I can see to understand this glow is that the superlaser sets the target itself to exhibit this odd glow, be the target the hull of a starship or the surface of a planet. This glow obviously does not necessarily come from the entire surface of the object, but does seem to come from a large section of the surface, some part of which is being struck by the superlaser.
Also worthy of note is that there is no
cutting-through effect involved, as one might commonly expect from a normal
laser beam. In other words, we never see the beam blast out through the
other side of the object being hit. This is most readily observable in
regards to the Liberty, but also appears to be the case elsewhere.
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