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Star Wars' Grossest Lightsaber Mystery Is Explained In One Hidden Detail

"Star Wars'" famous lightsabers make for a memorable visual, and the unique sound they emit is so infectious that cast members of "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace" accidentally sabotaged the filming because of it due to Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor's habit of humming the lightsaber noise. Still, despite the futuristic sword's considerably high cool factor, it's still a melee weapon made of hot plasma that swings distressingly close to its user. Which leads to the question: How can the Jedi and the Sith wield their portable plasma beams without causing their own bodies a debilitating and disgusting injury?

The answer lies in the lightsaber-centric book "Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force." It confirms that the reason lightsabers don't burn their users to a crisp is a magnetic field that's harnessed by the weapon's ingenious design. A rare, Force-sensitive material known as kyber crystal powers lightsabers. Apart from emitting the plasma that creates the blade, it also manifests a magnetic field that's able to contain said plasma within itself. Thanks to a special pair of positively and negatively charged lenses, the plasma beam returns to the hilt after extending a certain distance.

Based on this, the blade is technically less of a straightforward plasma beam and more of a thin loop of super-hot energy, tightly contained within a magnetic field that prevents it from hurting its wielder ... at least, as long as they don't physically breach the containment barrier and touch the blade.

The lightsaber's magnetic field contains a terrifying power

It's a good thing that the aforementioned magnetic field is able to protect the lightsaber's wielder and keep its blade intact, because the weapon packs a whole lot of power. As it turns out, "Star Wars" lightsabers are very, very hot. One particular stone-cutting scene in "Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi" suggests that if Rey's (Daisy Ridley) lightsaber cuts through sheer heat alone, its temperature may be 3.7 times hotter than the surface of the sun – roughly 37,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This and the magnetic field being able to contain such magnificent heat without even causing the wielder's palms to sweat speaks volumes regarding the kyber crystals' power.

It also gives an idea of what would happen to a poor soul who gets hit with such a weapon. The heat inside the blade's magnetic field explains why the lightsaber is able to cut cleanly through most things and cauterize the wounds it causes. While the field contains the super-hot plasma, it doesn't prevent said plasma from making contact with physical objects, so the user can poke and slash things just fine. The dramatic heat difference between the interior and exterior of the magnetic field effectively means that being hit with a lightsaber would be like getting stabbed by nearly four suns at once while the parts of the victim's body that are located outside the containment field remain unaffected.

Of course, all of this assumes that lightsabers work within the confines of real-world science and logic, which they absolutely don't. "Star Wars" has plenty of lightsaber rules that make no sense, and with the Force further muddying up the waters, lightsabers remain one sci-fi staple that probably shouldn't be thought about too closely.