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Old October 25 2012, 03:52 AM   #1
Gotham Central
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What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

Starfleet is the only space agency in Trek that does any form of self illumination on its ships, and is not even very consistent with that. I wonder why?

Even the history of Starfleet illumination is wildly erratic.
For instance, the NX-01 clearly has a spotlight on the main hull showing the name...and I believe it also has a few lights in other places as well. However the Constitution class seen in TOS has no such lights (and very few running lights). Obviously this is because the concept was not introduced until TMP. The Enterprise in TMP is covered in lights, but even these would die down in the subsequent films. Strangely enough, the Enterprise D, like the original, has no spotlights (nor do any ships on TNG). However, the lights make a return on DS9 with the introduction of the Defiant. They would appear on every Federation ship from that moment forward (including a few Galaxy Class ships that had no obvious source for such lights).

Do you prefer the ships with or without the illuminations?
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Old October 25 2012, 04:06 AM   #2
billcosby
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

With. It's badass.
It always generates an emotional reaction in the films when the lights go up before the ship leaves spacedock.
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Old October 25 2012, 06:10 AM   #3
sojourner
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

Maybe they all have lights but it's the captain's prerogative whether they are used or not?
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Old October 25 2012, 06:48 AM   #4
KamenRiderBlade
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

I'd prefer that they don't.

Make it consistant with TOS.

There really is no logical reason to do it.

With all the advanced IFF transponders, they would know what ship it was from long range.

If they need a visual identification, they would just use visual enhancements and zoom in from a distance or get closer to verify it themselves.

Plus illuminating yourself, especially what ship name you have is a Earth tradition that does nothing for the aliens that will see you.
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Old October 25 2012, 04:44 PM   #5
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Maybe they all have lights but it's the captain's prerogative whether they are used or not?
And there are FOUR lights.
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Old October 26 2012, 01:44 PM   #6
Ghel
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

I'd imagine that even within the fictional reality of Trek, the exterior lights are a matter of aesthetic and therefore based upon the whim/trends of Starfleet and ship designers. As someone pointed out above, in an age of advanced sensor tech, lights would presumably neither help nor hinder in the actual function of the ship since sensors would "see" a ship long before an individual would be able to track a ship with its lights.
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Old October 26 2012, 09:08 PM   #7
sbk1234
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

In my mind I always thought that the "lights" seen on the ship were actually sensors which the ship used to "see" stuff.
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Old October 27 2012, 01:45 AM   #8
Elder Knight
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

They should only use them when space traveling at night.
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Old October 27 2012, 04:20 AM   #9
B.J.
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

^"at night"
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Old October 27 2012, 09:45 AM   #10
Arpy
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

It's pointless and unrealistic.

With those bulbs the ships should look like this. TOS got it right when the ship just glowed all over. You could imagine it was some futuristic lighting tech...maybe a polarized hull or something.
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Old October 27 2012, 12:25 PM   #11
C.E. Evans
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

I've always liked the exterior lights, but I think they're really only practical when a ship is docked somewhere with poor lighting. They probably could be turned on or off at a captain's discretion (for all we know, the TOS Enterprise had exterior lights, but we never saw any of the few times they might have been turned on).
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Old October 27 2012, 01:16 PM   #12
Bamarren
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

I like it, it suits the NX01 and when you see several of the ships in space dock it makes it a lot more aesthetically pleasing. Im all for it, supposed its just a human thing to light the title of the ship your on.
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Old October 27 2012, 01:25 PM   #13
The Wormhole
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

Honestly, I don't care either way. I never give much throught to the realism of what I'm watching, and while seeing the lights might look cool, I don't terribly miss them when they aren't there.

Also, isn't the Defiant having its name light up an intentional homage to TMP? Didn't Behr or Moore or someone think that seeing the Enterprise light up like that looked cool and therefore had the Defiant do the same thing?
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Old October 27 2012, 01:34 PM   #14
R. Star
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

The whole running lights thing was an 80's attempt at futuristic. It was cool at the time even if it really makes no sense when you think about it.

Why would a ship in space with sensors so advanced they can scan what the captain had for breakfast need illumination at all?
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Old October 27 2012, 06:53 PM   #15
Arpy
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Re: What do you think of the self illumination on Federation ships?

I don't think it was futurism as much as "look we have a bigger budget now for our models and we can stick more lights on them." Same thing with the hull plates: why wouldn't the ship be uniform? Hell our ships have smooth surfaces and by the distant future they'll probably be growing their constructions rather than anachronistically welding them together.
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