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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old March 14 2010, 05:51 PM   #1
endouken
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Warp speed and the 'star effect'

Hi guys.

This question has been bugging me for a while now, I have hunted for an answer so please don't flame me if this has been asked before:

In star trek (almost any series) when the ship cruises at warp speeds the audience can often see the stars zooming by outside the window...well, even at high warp speeds such as warp 8, it would take 2 days to reach a nearby star from earth...therefore would the stars really fly past like they do in the special effects?

For proof of my sources:
http://www.startrek.com.sg/warp.html - details the warp speeds, and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLWuTkBvIG0
the above video is apparently only warp 1!!

or are these white flashes that look a hell of a lot like stars, in fact not stars at all?!

Thanks everyone,

Tom.
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Old March 14 2010, 06:01 PM   #2
The Wormhole
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

I've never thought of the "streaking stars" as actual stars, just some effect of warp drive. And really, I don't see why eevryone is so up on criticizing the streaks. Until warp drive is actually developed, we have no idea what it'll actually look like. And besides, I like the effect. It's simple and effective and conveys FTL travel.
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Old March 14 2010, 06:04 PM   #3
endouken
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

I agree with you - the effect is a nice one. I'm not meaning to sound critical! Just pondering if it's a realistic effect 'tis all!

Thanks,
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Old March 14 2010, 06:15 PM   #4
The Wormhole
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

Warp drive itself is pretty unrealistic, so I wouldn't worry if the way we see it is how it would realistically look or not.
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Old March 14 2010, 06:21 PM   #5
J. Allen
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

It's non canon, but in the book "Federation", Cochrane sees it as an effect of the warp field distorting Cerenkov radiation.
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Old March 14 2010, 06:24 PM   #6
endouken
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

Ahhhh, that at least offers me an explanation. Thank you Admiral!
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Old March 14 2010, 06:31 PM   #7
neozeks
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

Yeah, something in that vein is the best explanation. Unfortunately there were times when the characters themselves talked about stars (Hoshi complaining how 'the stars are going the wrong way' when looking from her quarter's windows). I guess they were just being figurative.
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Old March 14 2010, 06:33 PM   #8
T'Girl
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

For some kind of tech explanation, the deflector reaches out ahead of the ship. It pushes to the side particulate matter, cosmic rays and free hydrogen, so that the ship doesn't hit these things at hundreds of times the speed of light. Basically tunnels a hole that the ship flys down. But the warp drive field extends hundreds of meters, maybe several kilometer to the sides of the ship, all this stuff pushed to the side by the deflector passes through the warp drive field and that's what we see as streaks, the matter interacting with the structure of warp drive field. Outside the field it's warp eight, inside it's slower.

This explanation doesn't work for Where No One Has Gone Before unless the field is really really big.
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Old March 14 2010, 06:59 PM   #9
USS Excelsior
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

Yea in First Contact it was weird that Cochrane also saw streaking stars despite not leaving the solar system at all.

Of course it's all a moot point now since NuTrek has established it some kind of blue cloud instead around the ship :P
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Old March 14 2010, 07:22 PM   #10
drasche
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

And in Nemesis, you can see those streaking stars between the ship and the camera (after the Enterprise left Romulus).
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Old March 14 2010, 07:45 PM   #11
endouken
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

drasche wrote: View Post
And in Nemesis, you can see those streaking stars between the ship and the camera (after the Enterprise left Romulus).
Exactly!

Most likely the producer/s of TOS decided on the special effects and TNG, VOY, DS9 etc all stuck with it...except in the latest film, maybe they are trying to now address this issue?

In my little FLT world, i like to imagine the effects seen on screen would happen in my adventures! haha
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Old March 14 2010, 09:17 PM   #12
ChadHydro
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

Occasionally we see a ship (I'm thinking Voyager in particular here but I think it happens in most of the series) just cruising around at Impulse seemingly outside a solar system. I say they're at impulse because we're not seeing the warp streaks. I always thought this was strange because moving at impulse between solar systems is just not feasible to get anywhere. Anyone know what the deal is here?
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Old March 14 2010, 10:59 PM   #13
Mytran
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

This happened a lot with Voyager! Perhaps the warp drive needs periods of rest or repair to work at peak efficiency?
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Old March 14 2010, 11:12 PM   #14
endouken
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

It's possible the voyager crew had to carry out maintenance on their warp drive...they were using it all hours when not running into trouble after all. With the other series' the ships generally would repair between episodes. Failing that explanation, maybe they were gathering data, doing some long range scans to build their astrometrics database?
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Old March 14 2010, 11:28 PM   #15
The Wormhole
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Re: Warp speed and the 'star effect'

ChadHydro wrote: View Post
Occasionally we see a ship (I'm thinking Voyager in particular here but I think it happens in most of the series) just cruising around at Impulse seemingly outside a solar system. I say they're at impulse because we're not seeing the warp streaks. I always thought this was strange because moving at impulse between solar systems is just not feasible to get anywhere. Anyone know what the deal is here?
That happens quite frequently in all the series, but Voyager is the most noticeable for two reasons:

-We can tell they're not at warp because the nacelles are not raised.

-They're trying to get home, and frequently travelling through deep space at impulse speed is not practical for achieving that goal.

I figure when the stock footage was being done, TPTB wanted generic shots of the ship flying through space for promotional image purposes. But yeah, it does look weird and is something that frequently annoys me.
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