Whenever the Death Star is fired, there tends to be a shot where you see workers inside of the Death Star firing chambers. What I've always wondered is how these guys don't evaporate, get blinded, die of radiation poisoning or at least get third degree burns whenever the Death Star is fired. For a weapon capable of destroying planets, wouldn't standing next to one of these beams be deadly or at least incredibly dangerous?

Death Star laser chamber

This is what I'm referring to (notice the guys on the left?).

  • 2
    The helmets are proof against laser-blinding
    – Valorum
    Jul 17, 2017 at 22:08
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    Obligatory reference to Family Guy Star Wars parody. youtube.com/watch?v=9bSZXucTH4A
    – RichS
    Jul 17, 2017 at 22:49
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    Well, maybe they do die of radiation poisoning, we don't know that. Emperor has open tunnel leading straight into reactor core right in the middle of his office. Workplace safety was clearly not a priority when designing the Death Star.
    – void_ptr
    Jul 17, 2017 at 22:55
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    Maybe that's why they're cowering, in spite of their knowing it will do them no good... Jul 18, 2017 at 1:05
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    To add to @Valorum's point, the fact that they are shielding their faces is not proof that they are in danger. It can be a purely reflexive action. When I first started welding, I had a full face shield on and was completely protected from the damaging effects of arc welding. That did not stop me from flinching the first couple of times. Jul 18, 2017 at 8:26

1 Answer 1


Let's start off by pointing out that the primary weapon the Death Star uses is the Superlaser. And it is exactly that- a laser. Now lasers of this magnitude were typically composed of superheated, energy rich gas (which then turns to plasma).

Now the biggest thing about plasma, is it is able to be contained by magnetic fields. You can see two green "barriers" around the actual laser (which flashes from red to green). The individual temperatures of the 8 lasers are probably negligible pre-combination, and as you have magnetic shielding to ensure no plasma escapes, and air itself is a remarkable insulant.

However, the light emitted would still probably rate in the levels capable of damaging the human eye. Hence the helmets (as @valorum said). Outside of that, no harmful radiation (to humans) would be emitted, unless you are within the magnetic containment during the firing process. Regardless, nobody has complained about adverse side effects from standing inside the laser containment during activation yet!

  • 1
    ... and knowing the Empire, anyone who complained was probably relieved from duty anyway. Jul 18, 2017 at 13:46
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    @Calllack nah, he would just be moved a little closer to the beam.
    – Adwaenyth
    Jul 18, 2017 at 14:40
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    "you have magnetic shielding to ensure no plasma escapes" which leads the follow-up question, "what protects you from the high powered magnets???"
    – Paul
    Jan 6, 2018 at 11:55

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