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I have an alien race that can emit beams of heat from their eyes. Is their any way this can be produced by means of a highly evolved organ? If so, how would this organ work?

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    $\begingroup$ I can't imagine anything that would evolve like that. Heat is a form of energy and heat emitting from your eyes is a lot of wasted energy for no good reason. I could imagine that the creature has large eyes reflective eyes, like an owl, capable of seeing objects very far away, so you can have some kind of focusing lens in their eye, but then you would need a light source to generate the heat, but usually if you evolve to have light, its to attract prey, not look very far which is usually reflective (e.g. Cat's eyes in the dark vs a glow worm) $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Aug 24 '18 at 2:53
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    $\begingroup$ There have been science fiction stories with an alien with a chemical laser in the eye. Not terribly hard SF, but the technobabble was good enough to pass the first "duh" ... $\endgroup$ – o.m. Aug 24 '18 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Randy Smith Just a sidenote... You should have a look at this funny What If question, that may relate to your question. $\endgroup$ – D3f4u1t Aug 24 '18 at 8:28
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Glowing eyes of any kind pose a challenge. The best I can come up with would be if the retinal pigments could double as bioluminescent molecules. The creature could in theory make a beam of light shoot out of their eyes, focused by the internal optics of their eye, but it wouldn't be much brighter than a laser pointer.

If you just want heat-beams, but don't really care what orifice it comes out of, then one possibility is that the creature could have a very high body temperature, and they could open up a large pore that is filled with blood vessels to conduct their body heat to the inner surface where the Infra-Red rays can be reflected outwards. This could make the victim feel pleasantly warm. (The trouble is that you can never make something hotter than the source of the rays. Unless your creature has molten lava running through its veins, it won't be able to release meaningful heat.)

If you just want "monster that shoots heat", you could go the chemical route and make them like the Bombardier Beetle, and squirt out violently reactive chemicals. You can get creative here and give them napalm-spit if you want. Or maybe some FLAMETHROWER EYES!!!

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding! If you haven't already, please check out the help centre for information about the worldbuilding topic $\endgroup$ – Aric Aug 24 '18 at 10:07
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Any warm blooded organism produces IR light, peaked at the wavelength of a black body at the temperature they have.

Since the local temperature is proportional to the blood flow and metabolic activity, if you want to have an higher temperature (and an higher emission) you should somehow increase the local blood flow and temperature. Think of a highly vascularized sector of skin, placed above a muscle which can shiver/contract on command to produce heat.

However such emission would be omnidirectional and non coherent. I hardly imagine it as an IR light shining on something, it would be more like a glow.

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Okay, so heat is basically atoms moving around a lot and the more they move the hotter it gets. If you want your aliens to actually shoot beams of heat, its just not going to work. The heat would disperse according to the inverse square law so anything further than a few meters is going to be 100% safe because your going to melt you eyes off before it gets that hot.

What I assume, is you basically want laser eyes, like super man but actually based of physics. Firstly I want to direction you to this Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_construction . What your going to have to do is basically make a laser inside the skull of your alien which is going to be hard, but you might be able to get around it.

I can't really give you any tips, because I know next to nothing about this, but atleast you can start on your own research.

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A beam of light can never heat something hotter than the surface of its source, so remember that when deciding how hot the beams are.

Anyways, I would give them a bioluminescent gland that produces a hot bright light, perhaps one that's wrapped in heat resistant deposits , and uses a modified eye lens to channel the beam.

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  • $\begingroup$ Not quite right. A 'beam' of light doesn't have a heat, because it isn't made of matter, it is electromagnetic energy. What you are thinking is the target of a beam cannot be heater hotter than what is emitting the heat. But the emission area can be tiny; the high energy particles that release photons inside a laser have a very high temperature, while the laser as a whole unit does not. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Aug 24 '18 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion so when a photon hits a target with a high frequency, like a laser, it causes the matter at the target to vibrate. This vibration is heat. Did I get this right? $\endgroup$ – D3f4u1t Aug 24 '18 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ @D3f4u1t A photon is a quantized packet of energy. If this photon is absorbed by a subatomic structure (like an electron), that structure now has a higher energy level. So nuclei can absorb photons and then the whole atom or molecule has more energy. Vibrate isn't quite right either; a solid will vibrate within the chemical bonds that hold it solid, and vibrate more at higher temps. Gasses will gain velocity; the velocity of gas molecules is proportional to the kinetic energy and temperature of that molecule. . $\endgroup$ – kingledion Aug 24 '18 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion A misswording on my part, I meant to say the target of a laser can never be made hotter than the source of a laser. $\endgroup$ – Clay Deitas Aug 24 '18 at 15:40

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