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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old August 22 2008, 06:34 PM   #1
Sheridan
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So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

Hey, I searched the forums to see if this has been asked or not but I didn't find anything. I've always been curious about this: what are these dots we see the Enterprise passing when it's in warp? Are these stars that we are seeing the Enterprise pass or are these dots merely the light from the stars that it's passing? And why do we still see them moving past the Enterprise/shuttlecraft even when they're going in sub-light speed? This is just something I've been curious about and friends/family of mine ask me what they are too when we watch Star Trek so its pretty embarrassing that I don't have an answer since I call myself a Trekkie
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Old August 22 2008, 06:48 PM   #2
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

They're meant to be the stars going by. Of course, it's taking huge dramatic license, the stars are so far apart that a ship would have to be going millions of times the speed of light for the stars to move visibly like that. But it was done to create the visual impression of movement.

We see them at sublight speed as well because of stock effects elements being used, or again simply as dramatic license to create the impression of movement.
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Old August 22 2008, 09:00 PM   #3
Haytil
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

They're SUPPOSED to be stars - but they're moving way too fast, given how far apart stars really are.

So I just assumed they were particles of dust and gas in the vacuum.
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Old August 22 2008, 09:09 PM   #4
JNG
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

Could be both matter particles and light from stars hitting the warp field and doing unpredictable things. When we've seen the ship slow from warp, some but not all of the trails resolve into stars, so this seems OK.

I hope it is permissible to quote Dr. Schneider at ex-astris-scientia.org:

"Star streaks"

Whenever a Star Trek ship is at warp, it seems that always several stars are flying by when looking at the main viewscreen or out of a window. The effect was probably created only to suggest the high speed of the ship. It is quite obvious that these "star streaks" can't be actual stars, because even at high warp a ship would pass by only one or two stars per hour but definitely not several stars per second. Here "passing by" means that the relative angle changes by more than 90 degrees, resulting in such an effect like the "star streaks".

We have to find another explanation for the phenomenon, and one may be Tcherenkov radiation. Similar to the sound cone as produced by a supersonic aircraft which overtakes its own sound, a starship moving faster than light would create a sort of light cone. At least the shape of such a cone would exactly match the paths of the star streaks which always emerge radially from the center of the screen or window. Maybe parts of this cone would be visible from inside the ship as streaks for some reason. Another, even simpler explanation may be that interstellar particles glow because of the friction with the field created by the navigational deflector.
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Old August 22 2008, 10:24 PM   #5
A beaker full of death
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

Oh holy shit.
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Old August 22 2008, 10:50 PM   #6
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

Sorry to state the obvious, but it's Star Trek. I think we can safely assume they're stars! Remember what Sigmund Freud once said: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar! -- RR
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Old August 22 2008, 11:45 PM   #7
WendellM
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Oh holy shit.
Oh holy shit
The stars are brightly passing


Is that how the song goes?
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Old August 23 2008, 12:35 AM   #8
Sheridan
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

Thanks for the answers guys. I guess from what I've heard that we can safely assume that these are stars the Enterprise is passing. I do think it's a bit odd that this was never explained at any point of the show though. Maybe they did that to leave room for interpretation?
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Old August 23 2008, 12:42 AM   #9
Bacl
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

They are the souls of everyone's Grandpa and Grandma. And my kitty.
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Old August 23 2008, 12:44 AM   #10
A beaker full of death
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

Sheridan wrote: View Post
Thanks for the answers guys. I guess from what I've heard that we can safely assume that these are stars the Enterprise is passing. I do think it's a bit odd that this was never explained at any point of the show though. Maybe they did that to leave room for interpretation?
Maybe they assumed the viewers had a clue. Silly them.
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Old August 23 2008, 02:43 AM   #11
Maurice
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

WendellM wrote: View Post
A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
Oh holy shit.
Oh holy shit
The stars are brightly passing


Is that how the song goes?
Almost...

Oh bloody shite! The stars in flight aligning,
It looks like night on these Treks out from Earth.
Out here strange worlds to seek and ores for mining,
Jim Kirk emotes in a scene of some worth.
"He has no hope" the crusty Doc McCoy says,
As redshirt bleeds due to a spurious Gorn.
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Old August 23 2008, 02:57 AM   #12
Undead
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

They're space bugs smacking on the hull.
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Old August 23 2008, 03:31 AM   #13
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

They're just stars.
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Old August 23 2008, 07:58 AM   #14
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Re: So, what are all these dots we see the Enterprise passing?

thier actually Konpeito
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Old August 23 2008, 12:15 PM   #15
Timo
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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.

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