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Old August 23 2008, 12:15 PM   #15
Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

That goes fine for the original TOS graphics. Not so for the streaks familiar from the spinoff shows, tho. Since nobody has ever told us what they are, and since they certainly shouldn't be stars, I think we should embrace just about any explanation except "they are stars".

If the ships really passed stars at that rate, they'd quickly run out of stars to pass by! We've seen how thousands of those dots streak past on a trip from Bajor to Cardassia - a trip that supposedly goes from one star to its immediate neighbor, at most passing one other star en route...

Plenty of possibilities there. Dust impacting on the warp field, perhaps. Or starlight from distant stars getting distorted not just once, but in a cyclic fashion so that the same stars "streak by" over and over again (see how a warp field supposedly is sort of peristaltic-cyclic in the TNG "Where No One Has Gone Before" diagrams).

Okay, and perhaps one out of a hundred or thousand of those dots is in fact the distorted image of a star. That'd explain how, when a ship slows down, some of those streaks (but not nearly all) coalesce into static dots that supposedly indeed are stars.

Now, whether those explanations that are necessary for the TNG era should be applied back at the very different-looking TOS effects, partially or in full... Probably not.

Timo Saloniemi
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