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Space Science

Students Calculate What Hyperspace Travel Would Actually Look Like 234

cylonlover writes "The two Star franchises (Wars and Trek) and countless science fiction movies have given generations of armchair space travelers an idea of what to expect when looking out the window of a spaceship that's traveling faster than the speed of light. But it appears these views are – if you'll excuse the pun – a bit warped. Four students from the University of Leicester have used Einstein's theory of Special Relativity to calculate what faster than light travel would actually look like to Han and Chewie at the controls of the Millennium Falcon. The fourth year physics students – Riley Connors, Katie Dexter, Joshua Argyle, and Cameron Scoular – say that the crew wouldn't see star lines (PDF) stretching out past the ship during the jump to hyperspace, but would actually see a central disc of bright light."
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Students Calculate What Hyperspace Travel Would Actually Look Like

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  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:07PM (#42598709)

    The link is slashdotted, but if this is the story I read earlier today then they didn't do either. Instead, they figured out what it would look like at just below light speed... about 99.995% of c.

    In a nutshell, it's all about the Doppler effect. Normally visible objects like stars are blueshifted into the X-ray spectrum and the only visible is the cosmic background radition, which just looks like a big blur as it's blueshifted into the visible spectrum.

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:08PM (#42598727) broke. Usually when you prove a theory wrong through evidence, it gets put away in a box. Not Special Relativity, it gets bandied about as being the most wonderful thing, we'll just modify it a little to make it work...

    Einstein did modify it. The resulting theory is called General Relativity. Special Relativity still works as an extremely accurate approximation in the absence of strong gravitational fields. The equations of Special Relativity are used in experimental high energy physics all the time quite successfully.

  • by scheme ( 19778 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:10PM (#42598741)

    Newton's law of gravity is broken as well. The thing is that although it's inaccurate and broken, it's a really easy approximation to how gravity works that gets you results that work well enough that people still use it for most situations. SR is similar, it doesn't work in non-inertial frames but with inertial frames, it's good enough in most situations and a lot easier to use than GR.

  • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @10:51PM (#42599499) Homepage

    Incorrect. Things appear to be moving at a speed that is faster than light, but they are in fact moving at a speed below that of light, and it is space itself which is at the same time expanding, causing the effective distance between those objects and us to grow at a rate which exceeds the speed of light.

    They do not however travel at FTL speeds.

  • by locofungus ( 179280 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:50AM (#42600897)

    20-40% of c doesn't introduce significant relativistic effects.

    You need to be doing just under 87% of c in order to get a time dilation factor of 2. 99% of c gets you a dilation factor of 7.


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