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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

she blinded me with science

Star Wars Has Lied to Us: Traveling Through Hyperspace Would Actually Look Pretty Boring

Also, there is just no way you can measure Force sensitivity with a blood test. I refuse to accept that. George Lucas, you’ve tricked me for the last time.

Physics students at the University of Leicester took it upon themselves to discover what the view from a spaceship traveling near the speed of light would actually look like. And… well, it’s the right side of the image up above. Just a blurry circular gradient. Bummer.

Discovery explains the science like so:

[Similar to the Doppler Effect,] the visible light emitted from the stars ahead becomes compressed as we speed forward. The wavelength gets shorter and shorter the more we accelerate. Very quickly, we’ll see the light moved through the blue part of the visible light spectrum and then through the ultraviolet. The electromagnetic radiation from the stars no longer belongs in the visible spectrum, so our eyes can no longer detect the light. At close to the speed of light, the once-visible light (from our frame of reference) gets pushed into the X-ray part of the spectrum, making the galaxy ahead of us dark.

But, like with most astronomy-related discoveries, there’s an aspect of this that’s really freaking amazing. If approaching light speed makes normally visible light “blueshift” into darkness… what’s that white light in the middle there? That would be the universe’s background radiation, aka “the primordial glow of the Big Bang,” which is normally invisible but would blueshift into something we can see upon approaching light speed. You’d literally be seeing something from the birth of our universe. How cool is that?

Pretty cool, is the answer. Almost cool enough to make me not bitter that traveling at faster-than-light speeds doesn’t make you go plaid like in Spaceballs. Almost.

(via: Discovery)

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  • Shoshana B

    But I thought they only had the starlines when they were going in and out of hyperspace. The dream may still live!

    (probably not)

  • Jennifer Dougherty

    Traveling through hyperspace != traveling close to the speed of light.

    Put another way, traveling through hyperspace ain’t like crops.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I’ll hold out hope that plaid DOES show up in actual, proper faster-than-light travel. You never know.

  • Mark Brown


    Hyperspace does not actually involve brute-force acceleration to superluminal speeds; it’s more like an artificially-generated wormhole. The ship actually leaves “realspace” entirely.

    Warp drive, meanwhile, relies on warping the geometry of spacetime to sidestep the relativistic effects –again, it’s not just “going real fast.”