Hey, it's Star Trek, and "The Motion Picture" at that. You can never give these things enough thought. Well, I've always had the sense that V'Ger is "racing home" and has been doing so a while. While the fight between V'Ger and the Klingons may appear to be occurring at a sedate pace, at sub-light speeds, bear in mind that motion and velocity are relative things. There is no way to properly judge whether they are duking it out at sailing-ship speeds or caught in each other's warp bubbles (though I prefer the latter). Later on, the Enterprise is meant to penetrate V'Ger's warp bubble, meaning that both ships are at warp with respect to the surrounding spacetime fabric, but not at warp relative to themselves. To close in on a particular thing you said there: To quote our wonderful TMP-loving friend FcukTWOK: In other words, we can assume V'Ger has extraordinary data-gathering abilities, and not only would being at warp not impede those abilities, but it may even enhance them. Although V'Ger would probably be denser nearer its core, where the central vessel is located, its core -- if defined by the vessel itself -- is considerably smaller than our moon. From V'Ger's Memory Alpha entry: So we have four different sources offering four different size measurements. Even if you take the largest of those measurements (97 km), that is still an order of magnitude smaller than the diameter of our moon, which is measured at 3,474 km. V'Ger might be a beast next to the Enterprise, but it is still a minnow compared with our moon. Ergo, based on the craft alone, it would be impossible to observe occultation effects with present telescope technology. You could maybe get something on the cloud, but as I said earlier, that would depend on how luminous it is and its overall opacity. And the answer might be: not very. Another assumption there is that the cloud's luminosity stays constant. Some stars undergo extreme variances in their luminosity, and I don't see why V'Ger couldn't do the same. The same for its size and extent. There's no reason to assume they remain fixed. Indeed, given that the cloud surrounding the vessel dissipates when the craft makes its final approach toward Earth, it may be the case that the cloud is holographic, or can be retracted in some fashion. V'Ger could just be the "frilled-neck lizard" or epic "peacock" of space objects, deploying its immense cloud only on the final leg of its journey. The Enterprise crew is up against many unknowns, and I love the multitudinous mysteries of the V'Ger construct.