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Old October 15 2011, 10:20 PM   #46
DrBashir
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Could the lighted ring actually be complete around the saucer and we only saw 3 segments lit up at any one time? Anyone have a good photo of the op of the saucer showing the lighted panels?
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Old October 15 2011, 11:04 PM   #47
blssdwlf
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

CarbonCopy wrote: View Post
On the way of interpreting visual shots, I have some points.

Let's take some of the stock footage of the TOS Enterprise orbiting a planet. You all are aware, aren't you, were such a scene photographed in real life, that the ship would not appear to travel in a curved path, right? What I mean by this is that the ship often looks like it's a model a few feet long that's circling a beach ball a few feet in diameter that's sitting only a few feet away from it. I regard this as a trope intended to help the viewer realize that the ship is circling the planet.
How about this, which TOS shot are you talking about and we can try and re-create it (with the power of computers! )

There's a wonderful catalog of every TOS FX shot seen available here:

http://www.trekplace.com/tosfxcatalog.html

That way, we can see what the ship appears to be doing at that moment before just saying it should look like any one of these orbits (or if it's just powering in place because it can.)


@DrBashir - check out some of the catalogued FX shots - there might be a few where we can see the top of the saucer clearly.
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Old October 15 2011, 11:17 PM   #48
Cookies and Cake
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
CarbonCopy wrote: View Post
On the way of interpreting visual shots, I have some points.

Let's take some of the stock footage of the TOS Enterprise orbiting a planet. You all are aware, aren't you, were such a scene photographed in real life, that the ship would not appear to travel in a curved path, right? What I mean by this is that the ship often looks like it's a model a few feet long that's circling a beach ball a few feet in diameter that's sitting only a few feet away from it. I regard this as a trope intended to help the viewer realize that the ship is circling the planet.
How about this, which TOS shot are you talking about and we can try and re-create it (with the power of computers! )

There's a wonderful catalog of every TOS FX shot seen available here:

http://www.trekplace.com/tosfxcatalog.html

That way, we can see what the ship appears to be doing at that moment before just saying it should look like any one of these orbits (or if it's just powering in place because it can.)
Very nice catalogs; thanks for spoon-feeding me both of these pages.

What I said applies to any of these, which includes the iconic planet orbit shots:
  • WNM Orbit Towards (Where No Man Has Gone Before - The Enemy Within) [4]
  • Orbit Away (Mudd's Women - Turnabout Intruder) [98]
  • Orbit Towards (Mudd's Women - Turnabout Intruder) [113]

The Tressaurian Intersection Exeter fan film has some wonderfully modernized orbit shots that have much better perspective; yet they still seem to be perfectly in the style of TOS. I really suggest checking it out. I have confidence the last part of TTI will be done eventually.
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Old October 16 2011, 12:02 PM   #49
Timo
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Let's take some of the stock footage of the TOS Enterprise orbiting a planet. You all are aware, aren't you, were such a scene photographed in real life, that the ship would not appear to travel in a curved path, right? What I mean by this is that the ship often looks like it's a model a few feet long that's circling a beach ball a few feet in diameter that's sitting only a few feet away from it. I regard this as a trope intended to help the viewer realize that the ship is circling the planet.
On the other hand, this would be an accurate portrayal of the ship flying a figure-eight orbit above the spot of interest on the planet down below.

And the ship would probably be quite interested in doing that very thing, as its phasers and transporters both seem to suffer from limitations in operating beyond the planet's horizon. Transporters struggle to penetrate even a couple of kilometers of rock; phasers are even worse.

A powered orbit in figure eight shape would also nicely explain why ships that lose engine power are often in danger of falling down to the planet below.

(Then again, in "Mirror, Mirror" the evil starship is interested in intimidating a local center of political power on the planet down below - yet is established to be on an orbit that takes her away from the optimal firing position from time to time! This would certainly be a good time to do a powered orbit above the region of interest.)

A more interesting thing about those "orbiting" scenes IMHO is that most ships maintain an attitude of portside-to-planet, in fact carefully avoiding the pointing of "dorsal" or "ventral" or "bow" sensors towards the most interesting target in the vicinity. ST3:TSfS offers some rare shots of the ships flying with their bellies towards the planet, while DS9 and ENT did a lot of shots where the ship's dorsal side points to the planet (which in turn is located on the upper part of the screen, so the ship is still "the right side up" but the setup carries an impression of defying gravity).

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...

Could the lighted ring actually be complete around the saucer and we only saw 3 segments lit up at any one time?
Who knows? Some of the windows on the ship are established to be shuttered normally ("Mark of Gideon"); if all the shutters were opened, perhaps the ship would be a veritable Christmas ornament of nearly unbroken lit surfaces, some of which would be windows while others would be sensor orifices for instruments more refined than our eyes.

It's just a bit curious that all the portholes we do see open and glowing are always the same ones. If there are others, seamlessly closed (much like the torpedo tube muzzles, supposedly!), why are they always closed?

Timo Saloniemi
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Old October 16 2011, 04:53 PM   #50
Cookies and Cake
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Location: North America
Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

While I think the idea of a figure eight orbit, or other powered orbit, maintaining an overhead relation to a landing party makes sense, I'm unaware that this is what was intended. We hear about "standard orbits", which really implies something elliptical. But we don't really hear any details about how the ship maneuvers in orbit, beyond the hand-wavy (and far-fetched) need to maintain power lest the ship spiral down to the planet in a matter of minutes.

Timo your idea makes sense, but based on the evidence it would be a flat out retcon, I believe. Any descent into the atmosphere can be avoided by a powered ascent to a circular orbit which should remain stable for days, weeks, months, or longer, depending on the altitude. If the orbit is decaying rapidly due to atmospheric drag, then the ship would be heating up and the hull ablating. That never happened. If it's decaying rapidly due to a lot of moons in the area, then I really doubt that system would be stable enough to last very long, and at least one of the moons should be disintegrating into a ring system, and the ship shouldn't be in low orbit anyway. And so forth.

The determining factors have always favored something that on the surface sounds plausible enough (to stay in genre), but which doesn't have any scientific depth (sparing the viewers from science lectures), and otherwise whose attributes serve the drama (because milking things for dramatic effect is what keeps viewers tuning in).
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Old October 16 2011, 05:35 PM   #51
blssdwlf
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Well, here is the first look at Where No Man Orbit Towards.

TOS Enterprise is moving relative to the camera at 357 ft/s. Altitude approx 6,600 miles.

Time of visual shot is ~4 seconds.

So, the questions are:

What kind of orbit could it be? The TOS Enterprise is not going fast enough to be in a natural orbit. Timo's idea of a deliberate powered orbit makes sense. A "standard orbit" might just put the ship over a specific hemisphere of the planet. Loss of power would mean the ship falls out of orbit because she's not going fast enough naturally to have any stable orbit. This jibes with "Return of the Archons", "The Apple" and even "Court Martial" given loss of power equals a very fast drop out of the sky.

It might be a very strange elliptical orbit but we don't have enough visual time to give a good orbital track.

As Timo points out, rarely (if never) is the top of the saucer facing the planet. If they were sensors, it doesn't look like they were meant for planetary survey. If they were skylights, the folks looking through are never treated to a view of the planet they are visiting

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Old October 16 2011, 05:39 PM   #52
Cookies and Cake
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

The TOS Enterprise is not going fast enough to be in a natural orbit.
  1. How can you make this determination?
  2. What is the frame of reference of the camera (can't it be in orbit too, albiet a slightly different one)?
  3. Are you taking into account the apparent 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.
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Last edited by Cookies and Cake; October 17 2011 at 12:23 AM. Reason: fixed typo "apparent the" to "the apparent"
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Old October 16 2011, 06:09 PM   #53
blssdwlf
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Answer to #2: There does not appear to be a shift in camera position relative to the planet or the background stars. (You can compare the two screenshots at Trekplace as they are approx 4s apart.) If the camera is moving it is not in a detectable means as my virtual version works with the camera stationary. Do you have any suggestion to how it might move so I can try it out?

Even though these were eyeballed by FX guys, they make sense in context to what we know of the majority of Enterprise's orbits. Lose power, fall from the sky.

CarbonCopy wrote: View Post
The TOS Enterprise is not going fast enough to be in a natural orbit.
  1. How can you make this determination?
  2. What is the frame of reference of the camera (can't it be in orbit too, albiet a slightly different one)?
  3. 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.
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Old October 16 2011, 06:49 PM   #54
Albertese
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Timo wrote: View Post
...

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...

...

Timo Saloniemi
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.

CarbonCopy wrote: View Post
The TOS Enterprise is not going fast enough to be in a natural orbit.
  1. How can you make this determination?
  2. What is the frame of reference of the camera (can't it be in orbit too, albiet a slightly different one)?
  3. 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...


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Old October 16 2011, 07:14 PM   #55
Olive, the Other Reindeer
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Cary L. Brown wrote: View Post
blssdwlf wrote: View Post
CarbonCopy wrote: View Post
For example, the universe should not have to explain why so many people look like Diana Muldaur.
Of course it is explainable in-universe why two people in TOS look like Diana Muldaur - they just do. Do you think it is that uncommon for look-alikes to exist?
At that level, where there are no physical differences whatsoever? Yes, I do. Even identical twins are generally distinguishable on some level, and they are genetically identical (and usually share common nurture as well as common nature).
There’s always the Sidney Sheldon Solution.

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Old October 16 2011, 08:41 PM   #56
Timo
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

FWIW, "Miri" shows our heroes doing the "standard" approach to the planet that proves to be a Second Earth. That is, their ship is seen from behind as she approaches the planet, just like in the opening credits, and then the ship curves to the right, seemingly to orbit the planet counterclockwise, or counterrotationwise, or whatever you want to call it when you go towards the sunrise. Kirk then calls for "fixed orbit". And the very next thing we see on the viewscreen is the continents floating past, from left to right, as the ship travels from east to west!

Certainly suggests that starships don't respect freefall orbits much.

Any descent into the atmosphere can be avoided by a powered ascent to a circular orbit which should remain stable for days, weeks, months, or longer, depending on the altitude.
And even a badly hurt starship whose crew is unconscious can manage this easily enough, as in "Tomorrow is Yesterday". Yet a starship that suffers a loss of power due to human sabotage or alien influence cannot. Which is probably because the malevolents specifically hurt the ship in a manner that makes the use of propulsion of any sort impossible. In which case any powered orbit quickly becomes fatal enough.

If the orbit is decaying rapidly due to atmospheric drag, then the ship would be heating up and the hull ablating.
The hull tolerates atmospheric flight easily enough, it seems. And speeds would be fairly low if the ship merely fell straight down towards the planet when her hovering power failed - the first hour could well be spent just drifting down through vacuum, from the apparent height of several thousand kilometers.

Well, if it's an extreme range sensor array then you'd never point it at anything less than many AU's distant.
True enough. It wouldn't do anything plot-relevant, then, but might conduct scientific research despite the ship being engaged in the plot of the week.

It sounds a bit unlikely for this seemingly "lean and mean" ship to carry such gear, but by no means impossible. Perhaps this is the technology that was used for taking the star photographs in "Corbomite Maneuver"? Although plotwise, we have never heard of a sensor that would be pointed by pointing the ship; when the planet below or the ship ahead is scanned, this takes place at fairly odd orientations (typically planet to lower port, ship of interest to upper starboard bows), and the viewscreen shows angles unrelated to the orientation of the hero ship, too.

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Old October 16 2011, 10:50 PM   #57
Cookies and Cake
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Using the parameters suggested by blssdwlf, I have plotted a theoretically real orbit for the camera, according to Newtonian mechanics. This solution is offered "as is", but I'll explain my work, so that it can be checked. Note that other alternatives are possible; I am describing only one proposal.



The displayed units are SI, so distance is measured in meters. The planet's surface is red, the camera's orbit is green, and the Enterprise's orbit is blue. The center of the planet is market by a cross, and the point of closest approach between the camera and the Enterprise is marked by a circle on the left. Both the Enterprise and the camera orbit counterclockwise in the diagram. This diagram is to scale.

The planet is assumed to be a sphere that can function as a point mass. The radius of the planet is 6371000 meters and its mass is 5.9736*10^24 kilograms, both Earth values. The value of Netwon's gravitational constant G that I am using it is 6.67384*10^(-11) in SI units. The mass of the Enterprise is assumed to be zero (which is a reasonable assumption for otherwise if its mass were not vanishingly small relatively speaking, the Enterprise would disrupt every solar system it visited).

The Enterprise orbits at an altitude of 6600 miles in a circular orbit, as suggested by blssdwlf. There, it will orbit the planet in 6.122994278617534 hours. It travels at a constant speed of 4843.676699517414 meters per second in the Newtonian inertial frame.

The orbit of the camera that I am plotting is in the same plane as the orbit of the Enterprise. For simplicity, I have chosen the point of closest approach to be the apogee of the camera. At this point of closest approach, the camera, the Enterprise, and the center of the planet lie in the same line, and the camera is 417 feet further from the center of the planet than the Enterprise (which is one ship width, or about that depending on your source; this is done just so that the ship and camera do not collide). To completely determine the rest of the camera's orbit, we need only know its speed at the instant when it reaches apogee. For this value I choose 357 feet per second slower than the Enterprise, in accordance with what blssdwlf has suggested. Using the vis viva equation and slugging things out using the properties of the ellipse and elliptical orbits, we determine that the eccentricity of the camera's orbit is 0.04441833885412092, its perigee has an altitude of 5701.960117206670 miles, and its period is 5.736632021918684 hours. So, although the camera is moving slower than the Enterprise during the hypothetical stock footage in question, it will fall in towards the planet soon and outrun the Enterprise on the next lap around the planet. The camera will even survive that lap easily, in that it will come nowhere near burning up in the atmosphere.

Now for the part which may come as some surprise to some. Over the course of about 4 seconds, the trajectory of both the camera and the Enterprise may be very accurately approximated by constant speed straight line motion. I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to run calculations that will convince him- or herself that this is so in the case of the Enterprise; these calculations are straightforward since the Enterprise orbits the planet in a circular orbit at constant speed. Convincing oneself that this is so in the case of the camera is somewhat more involved which I will now partially describe, hopefully adequately enough to convince the reader.

The speed of the camera is controlled by Kepler's second law: it must sweep out equal areas of the ellipse in equal amounts of time. Although a closed form solution for the motion of the camera does exist, and is within the ability of a very advanced student of first semester integral calculus to grasp, presenting that solution and mathematically proving the point will not really be helpful in this forum. Therefore, I will simply present the following observation: if the motion of the camera is approximately at a constant speed and in a straight line over the four seconds of the shot, then the area swept out by the triangle accumulated along that line of motion between the center of the planet will be equal to the fraction of the area of the whole ellipse that is four seconds divided by the period of the orbit. This is so to 16 digits of accuracy, if one takes the line of motion and speed to be the values the camera has at apogee.

Furthermore, over this four second interval, if the camera is pointed in a fixed direction and not rotating according to the Newtonian inertial frame, then the celestial sphere (on which the stars lie) will appear to turn at most .06532751490506261 degrees, which is hardly at all. However, by tweaking the camera zoom setting, I suppose some apparent stellar motion could perhaps be seen. I say these things only to indicate how rapidly the stars might appear to move; naturally, the camera is free to pivot and point in any direction during the shot, in order to frame the ship in a cinematic manner.

So, therefore and in other words, straight line motion, against a nearly fixed stellar background, is what the camera will appear to see, over the four seconds of the shot.


ETA: The lower bound for how much the celestial sphere will appear to turn in four seconds is .06385944919511107 degrees. The actual amount is in between this value, and the upper bound value given above, but it is almost exactly equal to this lower bound given here.

The lower bound is the value assuming that the camera orbits (hypothetically and non-gravitationally) at its tangent velocity at its apogee. The upper bound is taken according to the orbital velocity of the Enterprise itself, which at all times during the four seconds of the shot is moving faster than the camera. As you can see, these values are very close to each other; the lower bound is .0224723948566697 percent less than the upper bound.
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Last edited by Cookies and Cake; October 17 2011 at 02:05 AM. Reason: clarified turn rate of celestial sphere
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Old October 16 2011, 11:13 PM   #58
Cookies and Cake
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

Albertese wrote: View Post
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...
Determining the apparent rate of rotation of the planet is only for gauging how long it is taking the ship to make one lap around the planet; knowing the length of the planet's day let's you know when to say you've made one whole lap, relative to the surface of the planet. The rate of rotation of the planet doesn't determine the gravity well. Does that help?
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Old October 16 2011, 11:17 PM   #59
blssdwlf
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Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

@CarbonCopy - that's a fascinating analysis. I'll put a little movement in the camera and confirm but I don't see any reason why it doesn't sound correct. Interestingly, the Enterprise in that orbiting configuration would not be orbiting "nose first" in its travel direction but pointing about 45 degrees away from the planet most of the time
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Old October 16 2011, 11:24 PM   #60
Cookies and Cake
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Location: North America
Re: TOS Enterprise Question...

If I may, I'll add one further set of comments.

In a free fall orbit, which I've modeled, no power is necessary to maintain altitude. Now eventually, in reality, due to perturbations from various sources, the orbit could decay; the planet is not really a point mass, there are other gravitating bodies in the system, etc.

Even though this is so, for even extended periods, measured in hours, days, or more, the ship is free to reorient in any direction.

At such an altitude as this, it would only need to correct its orbit every now and then. For these corrections, the ship should fix its orientation in preparation to fire the impulse drive, and then fire the impulse engines and make the correction, after which it may freely reorient arbitrarily.
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