Star streak problem in Star Trek
September 21, 2013
I had this discussion almost 20 years ago in the early days of the internet.

First, are you all agreed that the dots and streaks of light whizzing by the windows are stars? (Last time I had some claiming it was dust! In TNG and Voyager you can watch the streaks turn into stars when they drop out of warp.)

At the rate the stars are passing at high warp in Star Trek they are travelling at dozens of light years per second because we know the distance between stars in the real universe is around 4 light years. But in Star Trek, that is inconsistent because we know they take hours or days to travel multiple light years.

It also means that if the Enterprise could really travel as fast as suggested from the window views, Voyager would be home from the other side of the galaxy by the end of the first episode (since the Milky Way galaxy is approximately 100,000 light-years across)!

Galaxies, as vast as they are, simply aren't as big as Star Trek would make us believe.

Does that mean that a real future interstellar craft (that would take 70 years to travel across the galaxy like Voyager) could never see moving stars? Yes and no. I calculated that when moving through a dense star cluster they would just be able to detect the relative movement if looking out the window.

Nevertheless, being the Trek fan I am, I still prefer to think of them as being stars. Entire worlds, civilisations and solar systems sailing past in an instant. I'm just schizophrenic on the issue.
Harry Kerr
I agree. And those definitely are stars. You can see them become stars when the ship drops out of warp in some renditions.