Moving Slow at Warp Speed

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Henoch, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Henoch

    Henoch Commander Red Shirt

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    Even though this topic has been covered several times in this forum, I thought this post was interesting enough to bring it over from another thread https://www.trekbbs.com/posts/12753098/. Getting around a map of the Federation, we mostly focus on high warp speeds and how fast can we go. But low speeds at warp speeds are interesting, too.
    On-screen, the Phoenix flew at warp for 56 sec (if you can believe screen time) and if moving at the speed of light, then it should have travelled ~10M miles. The movie did not tell us how far it went, we only see the Earth as a small marble out there. What does the Earth look like at 10M miles away? I compared the movie screenshot with several NASA photos for 3 and 6 million miles away, and it's hard to tell with scale differences. I wish the First Contact screenshot had the moon out to its max so it would be easier to scale.
    First Contact screenshot:
    [​IMG]
    6 million mile view from NASA:
    [​IMG]
    3 million mile view from NASA
    [​IMG]
    It may be between them at about 4.5 million or maybe a little less, but to say it barely makes any distance is not supported. Maybe they are going a little faster than you think from Earth but definitely slowed by about 1/2. For TOS examples, I remember 12 times that the Enterprise used higher warp (3+) inside a solar system.
    • Arena (maximum), Obsession (na), Friday's Child (warp 5), Day of the Dove (warp 3), and All Our Yesterdays (maximum) showed no details, but they did seem to get out of the solar system fairly fast, so, this may counter your statement that "in the solar system at high warp speeds they are actually going very slow".
    • The Doomsday Machine (na) and Bread and Circuses (na) seem to show both of these at high warp and they seem to get into the solar system to a planet very fast (seconds).
    • The Squire of Gothos (warp 4) shows them ramping up to warp speed kind of slowly, but Gothos kept getting in the way to really get out of the solar system. I can't see any useful data, here.
    • The Paradise Syndrome (warp 9), Operation: Annihilate! (warp 8), The Naked Time (off scale) and Tomorrow is Yesterday (off scale) gave observations where they seem to be slow for the high warp factor because they didn't zip out of the other side of solar system in mere seconds. The later three examples were very close to gravity wells, and strongly support your theory.
    BLSSDWLF did a good diagram of TOS data, but the on-screen data was limited (see my list above), assumptions were made, and no formula was suggested. He did show warp 1 reduced to below the speed of light within some distance of the sun/planet but the scale of the chart seems "conceptual" especially around the sun/planet. How big is the influence of a sun/planet gravity well on warp speed? Does flying through the sun's heliosphere and solar energy output slow warp speed and how much? These are good questions. Since I'm not familiar with the TNG data, maybe they did a better job (but I doubt it).
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure we should think in terms of anybody doing a "job" there. Nobody involved in the production actually cared about this particular aspect of warp drives, not even those who had ideas about warp speeds in general and perhaps sometimes (but unsuccessfully) tried to insert those into the show.

    If and apparently when stars affect warp speeds, it would seem natural to assume different stars affect those differently. Also natural would be the assumption that the curve of the slowing effect is monotonous, the effect constantly increasing as one approaches the star, but that is just about all we can speculate about its shape, and we may be wrong there already. This assumption would explain how getting out of a system at warp is relatively easy going, though; the effect might still exist one or two AUs out, but would be fairly small. (We'd then have to wonder why the ships in "By Inferno's Light" were at risk 2 AUs out, but perhaps the subspace shockwave of the star going kaboom would cripple them and mean they couldn't then easily escape at impulse from the actual wave of destruction?)

    Most cases of slow warp involve very explicit close proximity to the star. "Paradise Syndrome" does not, but we may speculate: the large asteroid cast a shadow on the planet at arrival, thus possibly came from the other side of the star at very high speed, and Spock might have taken the exact opposite trajectory at the beginning of the episode, despite the speed penalties. Or perhaps the local asteroid alley limited Spock's course options?

    TNG has little data on slow warp. Worf warps close to a star in "Redemption", but speed isn't relevant there. The E-D in "Schitzoid Man" warps close to a planet at supposed approximate 1 AU distance from the local star, and may be slowed down somewhat because mere commbadges seem to maintain contact for quite a while; the system may be a "tar pit" in general, since our heroes retort to this rare touch-and-go maneuver here instead of simply stopping and then warping out again.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  3. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    Don't forget the acceleration curve / deceleration curve.

    It's not just binary where you are suddenly at Warp ___
     
  4. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    Didn't Kirk go to Warp within the Atmosphere of Earth?
     
  5. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    We do know is that with warp drive "on" the Phoenix accelerated up to light speed before jumping into warp speed (the stretch-and-light boom) and could argue that she was going at least 1c or faster once at warp.

    The total distance traveled would have been [distance at sublight accelerating to near light speed] + [distance at warp speed].

    The problem is establishing how long she was at sublight and at warp using the shots as edited. For example, when Riker calls out "30 seconds to warp threshold, approaching light speed", fifteen seconds plus a camera change later we hear Cochrane say "we're at critical velocity" while almost a minute and a half goes by from Riker's callout before she jumps to warp. Either the 15 seconds later cuts out 15 seconds of onscreen time or 1 min 30s later the edits inserted a ton of shots that are not part of the 30 seconds to warp threshold.

    And then the Phoenix's warp flight could be as short as 10 seconds (only scenes in the Phoenix) or as long as 56 seconds (scenes combined with the E-E engine room action) or even possibly longer...

    IMHO, at best you can guesstimate a lower and upper time range but it wouldn't help to establish whether TNG warp drive is slowed down near planets and stars like the TOS warp drive appears to be.

    Since you mentioned my chart, yeah, there are only a limited number of good onscreen samples :)
    [​IMG]

    It is based on the limited amount of on-screen data available from TOS (original FX) and the TOS movies. The observations are fairly simple:
    • slowest next to a planet/star (below sublight),
    • slow up to the 3rd planetary orbit,
    • very fast in open space between systems,
    • and slows down again between galaxies...
    edit:
    Reviewing the original FX of "All Our Yesterdays" we can see at "maximum warp" that the planet doesn't really recede as the Enterprise warps toward the camera. This would fall under "slow next to planet" or possibly "slow next to star".
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  6. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Kirk goes to warp with the Enterprise in "The Naked Time" in PSI2000's atmosphere but the implosion blasts them back in time and away from the planet.
    Kirk does it in "The Voyage Home" where the BOP goes to warp in Earth's atmosphere. It takes a long time to make it up into space. (But I attribute the slowness to the ship's proximity to Earth and not from the atmosphere itself.)

    I guess if we're counting warping in gaseous environments then there is also warp travel through an ion storm in "Court Martial" and warping in the dense Mutara Nebula in TWOK.
     
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  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Plus some nebulous warping in DSC: with the prison shuttle (and implicitly Discovery) in "Context", and with Sarek's yacht and supposedly Burnham's and later Cornwell's shuttle in "Lethe".

    What the Kelvin Enterprise does when approaching Yorktown could count as nebulous, too: we know the destination is right next to a superdense "nebula" or rubble field, and getting there might involve flying through some dense stuff already, hence the all-new warp effect.

    None of this provides real speed data, alas.

    As for the relevance of acceleration, whenever the CO commands "warp X", we have to check whether the helm then affirms "we have now reached warp X" or merely says "I heard you, warp X it is, or will be, just have patience". Only in the former case can we really plead short acceleration times. Long acceleration would help explain certain parts of Trek, but does lead to problems in others.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  8. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It takes that Bird of Prey a while to get from Earth to the Sun while accelerating to warp 9 something. That or they were accelerating around the Sun in a wide orbit and we only keeps seeing it like the approach vector before Spock triggers the breaking manually because the Klingon ship wasn't designed for this and doesn't have the computer systems (or engine systems for that matter) of a Constitution-class starship to make the process easier.
     
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  9. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    Another thing that has to be taken into account is the return journey. I'm of the opinion that the Phoenix was built only for one warp jump and not a return jump. Though that is never specified in the movie. Zefram Cochrane has to be back on earth in time for first contact. Which means the Phoenix can't have traveled further than it would take the Phoenix to orbit back around for reentry. Then they have to recover the capsule and travel back to the launch site.

    While I didn't come up with a distance I did estimate some times on my chart:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Henoch

    Henoch Commander Red Shirt

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    These are great replies. As to acceleration to/thru warp factors, there were a few episodes where the ship accelerates for a moment, then Sulu declares "warp 1".
    Fantastic work. I've seen this chart during my web research for this thread. It shows only a 15 sec warp speed burn, so, if you reference the photos again where it looks like ~4 million mile range got travelled, this appears that the Phoenix did go light speed, or slightly faster. Or, maybe the warp time was longer, or the scale of photos is bogus. I think it may be a little of both. The on-screen time was 56 sec., so, I willing to believe it. The screen evidence is inconclusive as BLSSDWLF indicates:
    The E travels at high warp for "several hours", then travels at a sublight speed for 2 months to get back. The fastest known objects in our solar system are sun grazing comets at ~570, kilometers/second. 570 k/s x 5,184,000 sec = ~3x10^9 kilometers (one light year is 9.46x10^12 kilometers). You'd think several hours at high warp would get you farther than that; Scott says they were at warp 9, but that might not to the speed for the whole several hours. Using the old warp charts, it should be ~0.2 light years using some averaging which is ~2x10^12 kilometers, instead, they only travelled 3x10^9 kilometers. Warp speed was really slow in that system or the asteroid was moving much faster.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A significantly faster-moving rock would offer certain advantages: a high relativistic asteroid (0.9 c or more) could be "the size of Earth's Moon" in terms of mass to be deflected without actually being that large in spatial dimensions (nor pulled into spherical shape by its own rest mass), and relativistic flight might spell complications that explain our heroes' general inability to budge the rock or move their warp-incapable starship away from it.

    What does "asteroid alley" mean? Sounds rather linear to me, taken literally. Perhaps the star system in question is speeding through another star system here. Two systems and two stars would mean double trouble for a warping starship... Although it would be a truly astounding coincidence for Kirk to happen on the spot during those few months this would take, and inconsistent with the long history of the asteroid deflector. Trek galaxy probably offers plenty of other mechanisms for high speed asteroid swarms, natural and artificial.

    Loving BLSSDWLF's diagram to bits. The booster apparently was the fictional Titan V rather than Titan II, though, with a very distinct single-nozzle design and capabilities in evident excess of Titan II lower stage. The corresponding nozzle of the upper stage / warp rig never glowed, nicely matching the idea that it was Cochrane's means of return only.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  12. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Could Cochrane's warp flight not have been relative to Earth/Sun's speed through the Galaxy, but a detached speed of light in subspace? Thus the Phoenix jumped to subspace and warp one but was no longer moving relative to Earth and the Sun's speed, but she didn't have their initial relative speed as she had in real space, thus starting from zero momentum compared to Earth's orbital speed and the Sun's orbital speeds, but once out of warp, she recovered her real space relative speed. Could this account for a discrepancy in relative distance between the Phoenix and the Earth?
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Or there was a magnifying lens involved at some stage. Might be the windshield of the pod for all we know.

    But I don't think we need to accept any "discrepancy" based on the angular size of Earth in that image yet. It's well within tolerances simply by being bigger than a dot but smaller than full Moon, as far as Star Trek effects go.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  14. Henoch

    Henoch Commander Red Shirt

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    Thank you for reposting your Warp Chart, BLSSDWLF.

    Huh? So, subspace is stationary or even moving askew to the direction of movement of our Galaxy/Sun/Planet combination? Would hitting subspace (integral in the warp effect) be like jumping forward onto a moving treadmill that is moving in some other direction at a different speed? Or would it be like wind resistance when you put your hand out the window of a moving car giving drag? Each planetary orbit for each solar system has an unique factor based on their relative speeds in relation to the Galaxy and to the direction of subspace. The direction of travel could be variable, too.

    Most certainly the real answer. Does the script and the special effects present the general idea as to what they are trying to convey to the Audience in an instance of viewing time? Was the Earth "small" after their "short" time at warp to convey the idea that they went "far" at warp? Sure.

    With that in mind, were there examples where the script and/or the CGI were trying to convey the idea that sometimes at warp they were moving slower relative to other times when they were moving super fast? Sure, again. I don't believe all of the discrepancies are due to inconsistent episode writers and the limited number of CGI ship shots.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  15. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    My assumption is that Sub-Space is stationary while Real Space is spinning around all sorts of things.

    Planetary Systems spin around their main Star/Stars.

    Planetary Systems themselves spin around the large Black Hole in the center of our Galaxy.

    Galaxies themselves are moving away or closer to each other relative to which galactic cluster group we're near.

    Don't forget that space itself is constantly expanding, might not be very fast, but fast enough that mapping space is a complicated subject.
     
  16. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Having subspace moving at a different speed (or not moving at all) might account, at least partially, for some of the wide variations is warp speeds actual time passed witnessed on different occasions. Moving at warp in the opposing direction of the galactic movement in the universe would I suppose get you to your destination faster as the objective is traveling towards you as you move towards it on an interception course, while moving with the Galaxy would be slower as the destination is still moving away from you as you travel towards it.
     
  17. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    Assuming that the size of Sub-Space is proportional to real space and since real Space is constantly expanding outwards, Sub-Space would be expanding outwards.

    Based on that, you could be going against natural space expansion, or with it.

    That could be the variation that you're talking about.

    But I have a hypothesis about the speed that space can expand.
    - How fast is space expanding now? -
    - Q: Long after the "Big Bang", space is still expanding, but how fast?
    A: 68 km/sec per Mega-Parsec according to Google
    1 Mega-Parsec is 1 million Parsec's, which is 3.26 million light-years

    - NOTE: Special Relativity Speed limit of "Nothing exceeds the Speed of Light"; well turns out it applies to General Relativity no matter where you are in our Universe
    Granted Space's natural expansion cannot expand past 1.0c going in one direction, but an absolute limit of 0.99999(infinite 9's)c can be done in one direction
    Given space expands in both directions when measuring the hard limit becomes 1.9999(infinite 9's)8c like two objects moving away from each other
    Kind of like a "Terminal Velocity", but for large Astronomical Objects in space at very vast distances
    This slightly under 2.0c isn't very fast relative to our advanced FTL systems, but given that it won't stop, developing ever faster and more efficient methods of FTL travel becomes paramount
    This is to preserve our interstellar society for the rest of eternity
    So this is my Hypothesis, that space cannot expand faster than 2.0c assuming you're at the center point of space's expansion.
     
  18. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    An issue I have with this is that we have no evidence that the Phoenix's warp system used subspace. In fact through the entirety of Kirk's era subspace is never referred to in propulsive means. Subspace during this time refers exclusively to communication, or the subspace "realm" itself. It's not until TNG that warp drive involves subspace. I think it's highly likely that the Excelsior's Transwarp system was the beginning of using subspace to achieve higher speeds. Thus by the TNG era the Excelsior's TRANSWARP drive had become the Ent-D's WARP drive.

    There's also a shot while the Phoenix is launching into space that shows earth during the wrong time of day. So the visual depictions aren't that big of a concern for me.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Here's a hypothesis based on a re-watch of "The Paradise Syndrome" that I don't think I've seen or read before...

    The near-moon-sized asteroid is not flying a linear trajectory to the planet. I imagine the asteroid is in some type of elliptical orbit that will eventually cause it to collide directly with the planet. Based on the Elder's dialogue to Kirk, the asteroid's orbit has had the asteroid pass between the planet and the star at least three times resulting in three partial eclipses. (And each time closer than before...)

    ELDER: Our skies have darkened three times since the harvest. The last time worst of all. Our legend predicts such danger and promises that the Wise Ones who planted us here will send a god to save us, one who can rouse the temple spirit and make the sky grow quiet. Can you do this?​

    Since the asteroid passed between planet and the star then it's possible that the asteroid's orbital perigee is close to the star. Given the last minute nature of the deflection, the point of deflection is then also probably very close to the star. Warping close to the star (but not trying to time travel) would likely result in dramatically slowing her actual speed requiring Warp 9 power levels to close in and intercept the asteroid. Interestingly, the original FX shows the Enterprise at warp yawed ~30 degrees to the vector of the background stars movement suggesting that she's traveling in a curved trajectory to the asteroid.

    When she blew her star drive firing phasers she came back on reverse impulse (original FX). I believe the reason the Enterprise was only 4 hours ahead of the asteroid instead of immediately going straight to the planet was because she was captured in the asteroid's gravity well and had to reserve fuel for escaping from the planet after they try one last time to rescue Kirk. (See "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and "Mudd's Women" where emergency impulse fuel is limited when it comes to leaving orbits.)

    I'll get around to eventually working out the math to see if this makes sense but I thought it'd make a good read :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Having the intercept take place deep within the no-warp well is a splendid idea! FWIW, the original VFX does show the asteroid basking in golden light; in TOS-R, the asteroid is dark, but the ship has a bright reflection...

    I can't accept any "starship cannot escape from the gravity well of a heavenly body" scenario as an explanation here, though. If the ship can't fly away from something the size of the Moon, then the ship has a number of shuttlecraft for which this would be an utterly trivial feat.

    Rather, I'd like to rationalize away the opposite references. Sure, braking to orbit of Delta Vega or Rigel XII will consume energy, and moving out again will consume more. But this must be considered trivial, and the backup in the form of shuttlecraft a strong counterindication to this in itself being a problem. Rather, I'd point out that in both cases, the ship had either lost warp drive was about to lose it. The remaining ability to depart from the orbit of Delta Vega or Rigel XII would then be irrelevant: leaving would serve no purpose, as the ship could never make it into another star system afterwards. This is what the heroes mean by saying they are stuck.

    "Paradise Syndrome" is different in that leaving the asteroid at sublight would serve a purpose if the heroes did want to follow McCoy's advice and go search for Kirk. Indeed, we later do see the ship leaving the vicinity of the rock and establishing orbit around Miramanee's world, with supposed and expected trivial ease. (That is, unless the rock is moving at a speed of a dozen ship's lengths in four hours!)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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