[OFFICIAL] What are Star Trek sensors really capable of?

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Re: [OFFICIAL] What are Star Trek sensors really capable of?

Postby Batman » 2012-02-20 10:43pm

And you are unfortunately correct. There are, however, no gravitational effects there, what witch LaGrange points being areas where the various gravitational influences cancel each other out.
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Re: [OFFICIAL] What are Star Trek sensors really capable of?

Postby General Brock » 2012-02-21 04:54am

@ Destructionator XIII

Silly question, but would the mass of the objects creating the Lagrange points affect point size? That never seems to be covered in Lagrange point entries on the internet. (Sorry if the terms used are a little rough...).

Intuitively it would seem to be the case. Links that talk about Lagrange points and even appear to demonstrate how to calculate a location, are not impossible to find. However, any kind of formula for the size of space affected or its shape (spherical or ellipsoid) do not Google as easily.



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Re: Re:

Postby Ted C » 2012-02-21 10:33am

General Brock wrote:Tried to find the volume of a Lagrange point, and NASA says the Sun-Earth points are 50 million kilometers wide.

So, if this example is ever used, it might be interesting trivia to include a little on how Lagrange points are located and size determined.

Lagrange points are also gravity wells, so if 'Trek sensors are gravity dependent beyond line-of-sight, maybe that could help hide a ship, as might space debris collected there.


The main thing about a Lagrange point is that it's gravity neutral (anything in it is basically in freefall all the time). A ship could float there for a long time with minimal emissions. An active scan should have typical chances of detecting the ship, but if such scans have to be focused on a particular volume of space or a particular arc from the scanning ship, they could miss things pretty easily. Even drifting in a Lagrange point, a ship would have some emissions, but possibly far less than a passive scanner would register as a likely ship.
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Re: [OFFICIAL] What are Star Trek sensors really capable of?

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-02-21 11:14pm

General Brock wrote:@ Destructionator XIII

Silly question, but would the mass of the objects creating the Lagrange points affect point size? That never seems to be covered in Lagrange point entries on the internet. (Sorry if the terms used are a little rough...).

Intuitively it would seem to be the case. Links that talk about Lagrange points and even appear to demonstrate how to calculate a location, are not impossible to find. However, any kind of formula for the size of space affected or its shape (spherical or ellipsoid) do not Google as easily.
No. The Lagrange points are created by gravitational interactions between the two large bodies of the system. The random junk that gets vacuumed into them doesn't contribute anything meaningful to the effect. If there was enough mass at a Lagrange point to seriously rival the gravitational pull of the bodies that formed the point, it would disturb the balance that makes the point exist in the first place.

And yes, from a practical point of view the Lagrange points are sort of like an gravity well. Not totally like one, because they don't become extra-strong when you get close to the center, and because they're pretty weak and easy to get out of. It's just that rocks drifting under their own power can't do it.

The shape of the stable orbits around the points is... not-simple. I'd advise trying to work out the math, but you need differential equations to understand it, so that's probably a "screw you, I've got mine" answer. Sorry.

Good to see you talking about things that aren't Ron Paul again. ;)

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Re: [OFFICIAL] What are Star Trek sensors really capable of?

Postby Tribble » 2013-11-22 08:47pm

Federation sensors were fickle things at best, at least in season 1 of TNG. During the events of "The Neutral Zone" none of the outposts along the border were able to detect the approaching Borg ship until it was far too late. This is despite the fact that the outposts were probably built for the specific purpose of monitoring starship activity! They didn't even manage to get a description off before being destroyed. The E-D, despite being only a couple of days behind at the most, never found a trace of them. And the Borg are hardly known for being "stealthy".
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