I've been thinking about this ever since I re-watched Star Wars. It occurred to me that soldiers are shooting what look like lasers, but somehow Jedi and Sith can deflect them with their light sabers. Furthermore, when the blasters are shot, one can see the flight path of the bolt of light. Obviously, they don't use bullets, so they have to be lasers. But if they were lasers, one wouldn't be able to see a 'laser bolt' and a Jedi or Sith couldn't deflect blaster fire.

So what are blasters?

  • I hesitated voting to close, because it's not really an exact duplicate of any one question, but answering it really combines three different questions' answers. But it certainly has similarities – The Fallen Jul 9 '13 at 14:45
  • I dont have stuff to back this up, (but other questions do) but it can easily be seen that blasters are not lasers simply because the bolts of plasma do not travel at the speed of light :P – user1812 Jun 29 '15 at 22:01

As Pureferret notes in his answer to this question,

Blaster bolts are made of plasma, not light. See here.

Blasters are a considerable improvement over the archaic laser design. Instead of a coherent beam of light, the blaster fired a compressed, focused, high-energy particle-beam that is very destructive, commonly referred to as a "bolt". (Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary)

Then as the answers to this question notes,

The 'blade' is a magnetic 'bottle' containing the plasma generated by the lightsaber. It generates a strong electromagnetic field. This means that the blade will have a little resistance to motion when in the presence of ferrous metals (most of the time, in SW). The blade will, therefore, 'bounce' off some metallic substances, even as it melts them. (The duel in ESB has some good examples.) The dense magnetic bottles are certainly the reason the blades 'bind' on each other rather than passing through each other.

Finally, as noted here,

When cutting through dense material, the immense electromagnetic field generated by the arc caused resistance rather than letting solid matter enter and interrupt the arc. This gave the blade a feeling of being solid when immersed in dense material. Rarely, some solid materials could actually pass through the electromagnetic field and short out the arc. Other electromagnetic energy fields and coherent energy were also repelled by lightsabers' arcs. These include most force fields, blaster bolts, and other lightsaber blades. (Wookieepedia: lightsaber)

  • very good answer. This also explains why Cortosis can deflect/resist blasters and 'sabers. – acolyte Jul 9 '13 at 20:18

The bolts are far too slow to be lasers (which move in the speed of light). According to Wookieepedia, blasters shoot out bolts of particle energy.

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