Federation: 8,000 ly across?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by zombar, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. zombar

    zombar Ensign Newbie

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    So I recently re-watched First Contact. I noticed Picard telling Lily Sloane that the Federation is 8,000 light years across, however in Voyager it's estimated a trip of 70,000 ly would take about 75 years at maximum warp to complete. So doesn't that mean if one wants to travel across the Federation it would take them ~8,5 to cover the distance. Is the Federation really that big or am I missing something? If the Federation really is that big how can it be successfully managed and defended?
     
  2. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just don't think about it. The Federation couldn't be managed properly if it took 75 years to get from one end to the other. But Voyager would not work if it didn't take 75 years to get home.

    Well, they could have set Voyager in another galaxy, that could have solved the problem.
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Not all of it can, IMO, but by deploying lots of ships and establishing starbases along key "space routes," Starfleet can still maintain a presence (albeit limited) in the more distant reaches of Federation space. In areas of contested territory--like along the borders of rival nations--there may be a much stronger Starfleet presence in place.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've found it's best not to worry much about numbers in Star Trek, since different creators are making them up as they go based on different assumptions and so they tend to be all over the place. In TOS and the early days of TNG, it was assumed that the Federation was pretty large (Deneb, which was on the Federation frontier in "Encounter at Farpoint," is currently estimated to be about 2,600 light-years away, and TOS assumed that the edge of the galaxy, which is maybe 600-1000 ly away at its nearest point, was fairly easy to reach), but then DS9 came along and found it convenient to assume that Bajor, which is beyond the Federation border, is within a few weeks' or days' travel of Earth, and that UFP neighbors like the Klingons and Cardassians could get to each other's territory in days. So the model shifted to a smaller Federation as a matter of convenience.
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Welll it all depends on which warp speed figure you use.

    If using VOY about 8 years
    Doing the Maths from TMP 4 days to travel 16 ly, it would be in the region of 4 years
    If using TOS figures about 8 days

    In TNG to traverse the intergaltic void some 2.7million ly, about 300 years.

    Plain and simple the writers of VOY ignored any previous established figures, in order to make the jounrey seem longer than it should have been.
     
  6. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Warp speed may also refer to different velocities in different parts of the galaxy, similar to the Chochrane's Factor used in the old Star Trek Maps. Warp 5 may be faster in Federation space than in the Delta Quadrant.

    There's a number of instances in TOS of the Enterprise travelling 1,000 light years in a matter of days. They could be using a subspace freeway that is a narrow corridor. Once you get off it, you'e back on the galactic surface streets with their lower speeds.

    The truth of the matter is that ships move at the speed of plot. Accept that and you can accept all the rest regardless of any apparent contradictions.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not true. The "roughly 1000 ly per year" estimate used on Voyager was initially established two years earlier, in the first-season Deep Space Nine episode "Battle Lines":

    http://www.chakoteya.net/ds9/413.htm
    That differs from VGR's estimate (75 years to travel 70 kly) by only 12 percent, and that could be due to Voyager not being the fastest ship, or Sisko failing to take stops along the way into account.
     
  8. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^Isn't that like saying 50mph in the UK is different than 50mph in the US. Sure what one species calls warp 5 might be a different velocity than what another species calls Warp 5.

    But Federations ships would have uniformity, when using the same scale. And given that TNG/DSN and VOY were all set within the same time frame a span of some 15 or so years for the TV shows. With no indication that the scale was recalibrated.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, the tech staff of the modern Trek shows were well aware that writers would make ships go at the "speed of plot," and so in both the behind-the-scenes and trade-paperback versions of the TNG Technical Manual, they clearly stated that the relationship of warp factor to actual effective velocity was variable depending on local spatial conditions -- that warp factor was a measure of power usage rather than speed, and that in some parts of space you could achieve greater speeds with the same amount of power. And yet for some reason a whole generation of Trek-tech fans ignored that clear statement and assumed that the relationship of warp factor to velocity was absolute and immutable -- even though it never actually corresponded to any onscreen evidence. Ships onscreen have always gone much faster than the published warp formulae indicated.
     
  10. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Ok I stand corrected VOY did use one of the previously established figures.

    However in TMP we are told that they could have Spock back on Vulcan in 4 days. A distance of some 16ly.

    So at 4ly per day = 1460 ly / year. Which gives a journey time of around 51.4 years. Though we don't know what speed that is at. It could me the maximum speed ~Warp 7 (TOS scale), or Warp 5 saying the dailouge seemed to indicate that Kirk wanted to give the Enterprise a proper shakedown cruise.

    But in any TV/Film production, any vehicle travels at the speed the plot needs it to. Even if we've seen it travel faster.

    And on a more scientifc note it is physically impossible for the GQ to be 70 000ly from Bajor, given that our galaxy is ~100 000ly wide.

    But back in the world of ST, The GQ terminus of the wormhole however is ~ 70 000 from Bajor.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, you answered your own nitpick, so I don't see why you felt it necessary to offer it in the first place.
     
  12. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Depends upon the time of day you're traveling. If it's Sunday morning, you can get from end to end in about a year. If it's rush hour...fuggedaboudit.
     
  13. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Huh? 70,000 lightyear is less than 100,000 lightyears, so I don't see any impossibility here. Is this a reference to Star Trek cartography that I'm not aware of, or have forgotten? How's it impossible?
     
  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Q likes to slow down the speed of light sometimes. Just for kicks :p
     
  15. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Ok I'll expand. Some parts of the GQ might be more than 70 000ly away. But at it's closest point to Bajor the GQ is far closer than 70 000ly away.

    There is a difference between a specifc point and a general location.

    Idran a star some 70 000 ly away from Bajor would be a specifc location. The GQ is a general location counting for 25% of the galaxy.

    Or to put it in modern terms, pick a country/state other than your own and ask how far away is it, do you measure to the border or a specifc point within it?
     
  16. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    OK, I understand now. Yes, some parts of the GQ would be closer than 70000 ly, but the wormhole's terminus is what they're referencing.

    And "Alpha Quadrant" versus "Gamma Quadrant" always struck me as references akin to "East" versus "West" here in our modern world - in some part geographic, some part political, and in some part cultural. The Klingons always considered themselves Alpha Quadrant powers and were proud of defending the Alpha Quadrant, even though they are supposedly based more in the Beta Quadrant.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But Sisko obviously wasn't referring to the closest point, he was referring to where he was at the moment -- "over 67 years to get here." Sure, he was speaking a bit imprecisely, but even I wouldn't be that pedantic about it.

    And Pavonis, I agree -- the Federation and its neighbors are called "Alpha Quadrant" powers even though many are in the Beta Quadrant, in the same way Europe is considered part of the Western world even though most of it is in the Eastern Hemisphere.
     
  18. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always figured that 8000 LY figure was the equivilent of citizing the size of the US being from Guam to Puerto Rico.

    While it may be true from point to point, that doesn't mean it's that big all the way around or that the main body of it is anywhere near that size.
     
  19. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps Europe being referred to as the Western world, is all down to when the Prime Meridian was decided upon in 1884, and the influence the British Empire had on the world at that time.

    However it would be accurate to say that most of Europe is in the Eastern hemisphere.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...I guess the interesting question is, does the UFP lie predominantly in one "hemisphere" or another, or is it split more or less evenly between Alpha and Beta?

    That is, does Earth, somewhat reasonably even if not completely canonically established as being at the quadrant border, lie in the middle of those 8,000 ly, or at one end?

    There are some onscreen hints that Klingons and Romulans would be in the Beta direction very close to Earth and big enough to block the expansion of the UFP in that direction. Then again, e.g. the star Canopus/Alpha Carinae, some 200 ly into Beta, is mentioned as being UFP territory (wargames in "Ultimate Computer"); that's already something if the UFP is "mere" eight thousand ly across in total.

    On a random note, Alpha Carinae is unambiguous for those of us who think the Trek galaxy is identical to our own save for the existence of so many Class M worlds and spatial anomalies and whatnot. Deneb is not, as the sky is full of stars whose name featured this word (meaning "tail"), some of them close to Earth, some far away. Picard may have been far away from Earth in the TNG pilot, then, or relatively close, and the "great unknown" may have remained so because of distance or because of political or astrographical obstacles. Whatever the explanation, in general we can probably rest assured that the UFP is not a sphere - but rather a weird amoeba shape, possibly with detached "islands" of territory as well.

    Timo Saloniemi