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Physics/Particle beam weapon


Hi! In Babylon 5 there are particle beam weapons that shoot particle beams with energies of 270000 terajoules which roughly is 65 megatons of tnt. So I was wondering if you could tell me that if this gun existed what would it look like when fired:
a) at a spaceship
b)from orbit to ground?

Would it be as destructive as a nuke when fired from orbit? And let's assume that it fired iron nucleuses at 99.998% light speed.

Hello Mika,

If this weapon exists, it would be a secret. If I knew of it (which I don't) I couldn't tell you.

While the beam traveled through the vacuum of outer space, the beam would not be visible. I expect the atmosphere would interact with it and give off light. In case b, where it hit the ground it would look like a massive explosion. The energy of the beam when it hit the ground would relate to the energy of a nuclear bomb with the same yield.

I hope this helps,


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Steve Johnson


I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.


I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

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