Passing stars when going to warp

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Photon, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Photon

    Photon Commodore Commodore

    Mar 13, 2006
    Was it just for a cool FX or is there some solid underlying physics.

    When ships go to warp (w/screen on) why do the stars pass by quicker as they're ramping up then when they attain warp X?
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    The underlying oddity here is that the ship cannot be going fast enough to actually pass any stars like that - that would essentially mean going hundreds of thousands times faster than light, rather than just hundreds or thousands times as the plots imply. And never mind that the streaks appear even when ships do short warp hops within a single star system!

    On the other hand, the streaking things do appear to be stars - at least some of them coalesce into stars when the ship drops from warp to impulse, and elongate from stars to streaks in the opposite case.

    Perhaps the warp field is pulsating around the ship and distorting our view of the surrounding space, so that the same stars go "past" the ship again and again and again? And perhaps the pulsation is a bit faster during acceleration than during cruise, much like a locomotive engine might have its wheels slip and turn like mad for a few moments before they grip the rail and start moving the train relatively slowly.

    Timo Saloniemi
  3. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

    Feb 7, 2009
    I thought about this the other day, and how if a ship really was going that fast, it would look like it was at impulse power, because there is no way they are passing that fast. Then I thought about something:
    Could it be possible that an observer would see some kind of streak because he's travelling faster than c, while the light from the star would be going at c only?
    Or may be, the warp effect that squezes the space around the ship would cause the stars to elongate. Sort of like how the ship is long when it first jumps? I don't know...
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    My take is that those are not stars, but instead were particulates of interstellar matter that the main deflector was moving to allow the ship's passage, but were still close enough to pass through the outer portions of the the ship's warp field/bubble.

    Being caught in the deflector and passing through the warp field made them visible.

    In only one TNG episode (WNOHGB) do we see the Enterprise at warp from the side, from a distance. And the extent of the "streaking stars" there could be explained by size of the ship's warp field. It's fullest extent could reach for miles (stronger near the hull).

  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    The depiction of space travel in Trek has always bothered me. The "warp stars" zoom past far too fast, but worse is when the stars flutter past at sub-light velocities like tiny dust motes (worst offender: the intro to ENT's "These Are the Voyages")

    I far prefer the depiction in the last movie - still stars and a moving ship at sublight, angry zappy blue warp fields surrounding the ship at FTL speed.
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2001
    Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
    Eh, I just call it an optical distortion and leave it at that.
  7. Captain McBain

    Captain McBain Captain Captain

    Maybe it's similar to a person who is driving on Highway 30 and they see the moon following them. Just an optical illusion, in other words.
  8. Anduril

    Anduril Nose down. Throttle up. Captain

    Jun 29, 2004
    Whenever questions like these pop up, I always stop reading after Timo has given his explanation. He always seems to have the most reasonable answers!
  9. Jim Gamma

    Jim Gamma This space left blank intentionally. Premium Member

    Jul 20, 2003
    Add to Timo's explanation that anything going faster than the speed of light can't see anything behind it (because the light can't catch up) - so in fact, the streaks behind the ship shouldn't even be visible if they're starlight. I always take it to be an artefact of travelling with a warp field, some kind of radiation caused by the interaction of realspace and subspace (possibly tachyon-related).
  10. Minuet

    Minuet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 16, 2012
    The marvelous progressive utopia of California
    I just assume that the warp field makes a crazy visual distortion that makes stars appear to move faster than they are actually moving. The stars are swirling around the warp bubble (that the ship creates) in a weird, illogical manner where some stars that have already passed the vessel are visible in the front of the ship, and vice versa.

    It's just a visual clusterfuck of stars due to light distortion from the artificial space-time bubble created by the warp engines, and thank god that the Enterprise has sensors to navigate during warp, or else it'd just make everyone dizzy trying to figure out which direction to set a course in.

    Or something. I've had a glass of wine and I feel like my brain is trapped in a warp bubble at this very moment.
  11. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2012
    Melakon's grave
    Maybe the elongated effect is what the stars look like when traveling through subspace.
  12. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

    Aug 5, 2009
    North Wales
    I think some sort of optical illusion would be absolutely expected - after all , we can't even watch the spokes on a wheel turning beyond a certain speed without them seeming to run backwards, and that's much slower that lightspeed. The human eye (and brain) was just not built to interpret FTL velocities.
  13. Minuet

    Minuet Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 16, 2012
    The marvelous progressive utopia of California
    You said it much more eloquently than I did with my drunk-babble. :p