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In The Vampire Diaries and The Originals (both are in same canon), vampires without daylight rings simply burn in the daylight, but artificial lights at night don't do anything to them. I always thought it has something to do with magic and only sunlight can burn them or vampire hunters would have invented ray guns instead of wood bullets.

Then, I saw light based attack at night in The Originals. When Klaus didn't agree with the terms of human factions, they attacked bombing and projecting light which burned most of vampires.

Which wavelength of light actually burns vampires?

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    Are you asking primarily in Vampire Diaries or in general... if it's in general I think it's too broad of a question to ask. Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 3:39
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    @DoctorWho22 - He specifically referenced two vampire properties within the same universe. That makes it specific enough for an answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 6:37
  • @Richard Yes but the answer that was chosen explains primarily based on vampire lore IN GENERAL.... If you want to answer this question it has to be an answer that fits within the lore of Vampire Diaries / The Originals, unless he's asking it in a more broad term. There is nothing stating what sort of wavelength of light actually kills Vampires in that universe. It's just treated as lights from the sun, or magic that mimics that of the sun. Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 22:59
  • @DoctorWho22 The answerer just tried to be general. Yet, he didn't pick Twilight in which sunlight doesn’t burn vampires. seemingly all vampire lore includes especially TVD/TO type behavior only and can be replaced with TVD/TO without changing anything.
    – user931
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 4:49

3 Answers 3

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In seemingly all vampire lore, vampires are unaffected by ordinary incandescence light sources. Starting from the far infrared, ordinary incandescent light bulbs and atmospherically filtered sunlight cover the same spectrum until you reach the ultraviolet UV B range. Incandescent lights don't emit wavelengths in the UV B range or shorter wavelengths. Ultraviolet rays from sunlight with wavelengths shorter than UV B are absorbed by the atmosphere. This leaves only UV B emissions as a key difference between artificial light sources and sunlight. Therefore vampires must necessarily roast under UV B, just like humans.

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    The Blade movies (and maybe comics) fit this as they can stand to be out during the day with enough sunblock.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 5:27
  • In True Blood Tara uses a tanning bed to try suicide. It seemed to have the "desired" burning effect on her - though she can't go through with it. To me it seems that this answer applies to most of vampire lore - surprisingly not a too broad question at all.
    – Einer
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 13:32
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    Also shows up in a form in the short story, ''Blood Money'', where the vampire states that humans burn in sunlight too... we just call it sunburn and we're a bit better adapted for it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 15:23
  • UV B waves are mostly absorbed by the ozone so how can it be the reason that vampires die? medium wave, mostly absorbed by the ozone layer en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet#Subtypes Commented Jun 1, 2014 at 23:04
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    @Doctor “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”. UV B is all that's left. Mostly absorbed is not totally absorbed. The UV B remaining is enough to radiation burn the melanin-challenged among us humans. I guess vampires are more sensitive.
    – Kyle Jones
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 6:46
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The reason sunlight kills vampires in the Vampire Diaries is specifically due to the fact that a witch cast a spell so that the sun's life aspect causes them to be immortal. Although the wikia does also state that it's the natural UV light that is connected to their weakness.

http://vampirediaries.wikia.com/wiki/Sunlight

The reason vampires are naturally weak against the sun, actually started at the time of the Originals, when the witch Esther used the sun's life aspect and the White Oak tree's immortality to make her family live forever and be able to protect themselves. Sunlight is harmful but not fatal to Originals, however, Esther created the very first daylight rings.

The quote about the UV :

Slater's cafe and home contained tempered glass windows to block UV rays, making them safe environments for vampires. This shows the harmful element is natural UV light, but it is unclear if artificial UV light would have the same effect. Furthermore, it's unclear if the lapis lazuli rings protect against only natural sunlight or UV rays in general.

It's not stated anywhere which wavelength of UV light actually affects the vampires in that universe, just that the "natural UV light" is the harmful element.

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Solar Spectrum

Lunar Spectrum (Moonlight does not kill vampires)

Lunar light is just reflected sunlight, but it does look a little depleted in UV. However, it's possible that a vampire's problem with sunlight may not be wavelength related at all. It could be an intensity issue. The sun is about 400,000 times as bright as the moon; magnitude -26.7 vs -12.7. Even on cloudy days, it's quite bright outside; with reduced UV.

It takes 1000's of watts to achieve a light level rivaling the sun even with high efficiency lamps, but that might kill a vampire. I've yet to come across evidence that anyone's actually tried using lights that are bright enough to rival the sun to eliminate a vampire. Perhaps it's never been tried, or maybe there were no human survivors.

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