Weapons in the Original Series
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The weapons depicted in the Original Series comprise mainly of laser-based technology and ordnance-like warheads.
The article attempts to explain how they work in relation to current real world technologies, using logical deduction and plausible speculation based on evidence presented in the series.
Laser weapons are a form of directed-energy weapon. Most uses of lasers depicted in the Original Series act more like particle beams, since lasers would be too fast to be seen by the human eye, since they would travel at the speed of light. Additionally, true laser weapons would likely not be in the visible light spectrum, since shorter wavelengths are more energetic, and thus be invisible to the human eye.
It is the only time that the weapons are referred to and visual effects look no different than regular lasers depicted during the series on.
However, even with the nomenclature change, the laser blasts fired from both Vipers and Raiders tend to explode after a certain range. While probably meant to mirror regular munitions fire from warplane dogfights during conflicts such as World War II, the explosive nature of the munitions suggest something more than lasers.
Dr. Ravashol created an energy lens system named after him. It is designed much like a high-energy laser communication device, meant to send messages into deep space over vast distances.
It is somehow modified to be used as an offensive weapon. It is unknown how this is done precisely, since the sheer destructive power of the beam would be contrary to its intended purpose. After all, information transmitted using the pulsar would not be receivable since it would destroy any receiving station meant to capture the signal.
Hand held laser guns
In the beginning of the series, fire from a laser pistol or Cylon laser rifle is seen with only a flash from the muzzle of the weapon and the spark of the energy bolt that hits the target. The actual emission is invisible to the naked eye.
The Centurions wear mirrored body armor over most of their body. Since mirrors can absorb most laser energy without being damaged, it is likely that the armor is mirrored for the purposes of protecting the Centurions from laser damage.
Explosives made from volatile materials are also seen in the series; most explosive devices seen in the series tend to be handheld, like hand mines, while the only major payload heard of is the pluton bomb.