As is commonplace in science fiction, when a spacecraft makes the "jump to lightspeed," stars in the galaxy stretch in front of your eyes. But University of Leicester students have calculated what you would actually see when travelling through space at the speed of light.
According to a study by four students, crews in the likes of Starship Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon would actually see no sign of stars, rather a central disc of bright light. This would be due to the Doppler effect - the same effect which causes the siren of an ambulance to become higher in pitch as it comes towards you.
The Doppler blue shift is a similar phenomenon; but for light instead of sound. As you travel at lightspeed, the wavelength of the light from stars will decrease and 'shift' out of the visible spectrum into the X-ray range. You would simply see a circle of light called Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation: radiation left behind from the Big Bang.
And of course, as the stars are now within the X-ray range due to your speed, this would increase pressure felt by the ship (to the equivalent of what is felt at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean), and would require some strong protection from the harmful radiation. This could lead to more realism in Star Wars though.
“Perhaps Disney should take the physical implications of such high speed travel into account in their forthcoming films,” Katie Dexter, 21, from Kettering, concluded.
Source: University of Leicester
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