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Old January 11 2014, 01:58 AM   #33
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Re: Stellar Cartography

Robbiesan wrote: View Post
On of the problematic aspects that is entirely unnecessary is trying to match up known Milky Way galaxy stars within the Star Trek universe. It's not essential and can lead to terrible errors in the distance of stars based upon canon and noncanonical fiction simply because the star isn't present in that map coordinate to be logical.
While Star Trek has many divergences from reality, it was one of the first science fiction television series that consulted at all with actual scientists and made even a partial effort to ground itself in realism. Its ground rule was to use real science as a starting point and diverge from it only as dramatic license demanded. It didn't always live up to that ideal, and few of the non-Roddenberry-produced incarnations of the franchise have made that much of an effort, but ST has enough foundation in reality (compared, at least, to most other mass-media SF) that it's worth the effort to try to connect it to real science and astronomy where possible. Yes, there are continuity errors that result, but there are continuity errors throughout the franchise pertaining to all sorts of other subjects.

Why must it agree? We don't live in a Star Trek galaxy for sure. Earth is way to the side of the Milky Way and hardly at the center of four quadrants. If you begin with that premise, immediately there are issues because of the cluster of stellar mass that should be located within the centre of spiral arm type galaxies.
It was never claimed that Earth was at the center of all four quadrants. On the contrary, it's simply at the border between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, much as London is on the Prime Meridian dividing the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Said border is defined as the plane which passes through both Sol and the galactic center and is perpendicular to the galactic plane.

Even before the quadrant system was devised in TNG, Trek was quite clear on the fact that the center of the galaxy was nowhere near Earth (see "The Magicks of Megas-tu" and ST V). So I don't know where you got this mistaken impression.

There's too many problems with making Milky Way known stars line up with a Star Trek galaxy.
There are problems with making sense of any aspect of Trek continuity. But it can be an entertaining creative challenge to try. That's why we do it: because it's entertaining. That's what fiction is for, right?

I do applaud anyone's effort to do so. I recall an earlier pioneer towards this effort who had attended planetarium lectures and done independent research in order to determine the best fit for the Vulcan homestar. Ultimately it's wasted energy.
Exercising one's imagination and creativity is never wasted energy. Engaging at petty sniping at other people for choosing to do so, on the other hand, is definitely wasted energy.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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