If the topside of the saucer of the TOS Enterprise is part of a sensor system with four orifices, it should worry us a bit that the topside is never pointed at anything interesting when the camera dwells on the ship. Never. Of course, it may be that the sensor is actually omnidirectional (or downward-oriented), and the four glowy things aren't orifices for incoming information but merely exhausts for glowing emissions associated with the functioning of the instrument. Still, the fact that only three of them glow properly is somewhat counterindicative of a single four-element instrument...
Well, if it's an extreme range sensor array
then you'd never point it at anything less than many AU's distant. And I imagine it'd be more like a large radio telescope array (like the Very Large Array) and therefore would be used to observe objects on the scale of light-years
distant. The ship has plenty of other sensors which would be quite adequate to the task of observing the planet. So, whether it's ever pointed at a planet in the show is immaterial as that's not what it's for. And if it ever was pointed at something of interest, it would much too far away to see with the unaided eye and would thusly not be included in any shot of the ship in operation.
As to why three are lit and one isn't.... Really? The obvious intention is that we are meant to imagine the forth one is lit too. If we simply must
insist that what was shown on screen is the unalterable gospel truth then I suppose we might speculate that you only need three to operate at any time or maybe the forth one has a certain specialty sensor which doesn't need be kept on standby like the others, or's it's shuttered beneath a white painted door because it's more delicate than the others, or any other sensible idea. And I'm pretty sure the TOS E
in "Trials and Tribble-ations" and the TOS Defiant
in "In a Mirror, Darkly" did
have all four squares illuminated.
The TOS Enterprise is not going fast enough to be in a natural orbit.
- How can you make this determination?
- What is the frame of reference of the camera (can't it be in orbit too, albiet a slightly different one)?
- Are you taking into account apparent the rotation of the planet and the length of its day?
The second of three questions is really the most important. The third question is important too, but it doesn't trump everything; since these scenes were not assembled with the aid of a computer, but rather were eyeballed, we know
ahead of time that they won't withstand detailed scrutiny.
I just woke up so maybe I'm not thinking straight, but can you explain to me how point number three is relevant at all? How would the the speed of a planet's rotation effect it's gravity well? I don't see how that's relevant to an orbit? Maybe you mean to somehow extrapolate the planet's size from that? I'm not sure we have enough information from the show to do that in any case. The landing party didn't seem effected by unusually heavy or weaker gravity so I suppose it's more-or-less 1G and therefore essentially Earth-sized. Maybe I'm missing the point, help me out here...