9

To illustrate this question, assume we have two Imperial Class Star Destroyers who were both shipped out of adjacent construction bays at Kuat Drive Yards on the same standard day, and are both manned by a new crew of clones freshly graduated from the same batch on Kamino. Both ships can be expected to perform as nearly identically as can be expected in every way possible.

Both capital ships are currently next to each other. They are both ready to jump to Endor, and a remote signal was emitted from Kuat Space Traffic Control to fire both ships' hyperspace engines at the same time. Given such conditions, can the two capital ships see each other while still in hyperspace?

Is it possible that the answer depends on this associated question: How fast is hyperspace travel?

Edit: It seems the answer is now official in the movies. In Ep VII TV Spot 7 (YouTube link), it can be seen that from the cockpit of an X-Wing in hyperspace, fellow X-Wings are visible to the eye. I guess that settles it as canon. It seems ships can synchronise jumps after all.

11

YES. Ships in hyperspace can see one another.

The canon Clone Wars TV series has at times shown several starships in hyperspace together in the same hyperspace-tunnel. It would appear that someone need only look through the correct viewport to see the other ships inside the same hyperspace-tunnel.

enter image description here

Also, in TV Spot #7 of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we again can see other ships from inside the cockpit while in a hyperspace tunnel.

TFA gif

Click here for HD gif.

TFA image of hyperspace

It would appear that multiple ships can indeed travel in the same hyperspace tunnel and thus can be seen by one another while at lightspeed.

  • 1
    After seeing teaser clips of the upcoming movie (see edit in question), this answer, though different from all the others, is the only one that corresponds with canon. – thegreatjedi Dec 1 '15 at 13:11
  • 1
    The fact that we're shown, as viewers, that there are multiple ships in hyperspace together is not necessarily proof that they can see each other in-universe. Seeing that they're moving faster than light, we shouldn't be able to see them at all. – phantom42 Dec 1 '15 at 13:14
  • @phantom42 That's like saying they can't see the blue hyperspace tunnel at all since they're going faster than light. There's a lot of things in Star Wars that shouldn't be possible. However there's no reason to believe that they can't see one another if we can. – RedCaio Dec 1 '15 at 20:05
  • correct, and that's why i havent voted either way, and i'm not necessarily disagreeing with your conclusion, just commenting that your reasoning may be faulty. – phantom42 Dec 1 '15 at 20:13
  • 1
    @phantom42 - While I can imagine some artistic license in a cartoon show, especially in a shot that isn't supposed to match with any character's perspective, it's hard for me to imagine they would show ships through the window of a cockpit in a live-action movie if the characters couldn't see them too--that seems akin to suggesting that the characters don't actually see the streaking star effect that the audience sees whenever they jump to hyperspace! – Hypnosifl Dec 1 '15 at 22:09
6

I have always thought of hyperspace as being akin to a warp bubble. That is, a ship in hyperspace is more or less isolated from the rest of the universe. You can't be seen/detected, but you also can't see or detect anything outside the ship(the force being a probable exception). I think Josh is right that sight is ineffective, but not about other forms of detection being useful(note: it's possible this whole thing should be a reply to Josh, but sadly I don't have the rep for it).

Maybe the best example of what i'm talking about is the M. Falcon's first encounter with the Death Star; Han isn't expecting a debris field, even referencing that whatever they flew into isn't "on any of the charts." This suggests ships in Star Wars can't even detect the absence of a planet up ahead, let alone smaller phenomena like a nearby ship. They rely almost entirely on (in this case incorrect) internal representations of the universe.

  • 2
    It's possible you're right, but I think it more likely that Han simply wasn't looking ahead to see if Alderan was still there. 1) Why would he? No one had ever destroyed a planet before. 2) He is as cocky as it gets at the beginning of his character arc. He already left the empire in the dust and has no reason to expect further trouble. 3) If you are right, they were rather lucky not to have destroyed themselves by colliding with even the smallest bit of debris just before leaving hyperspace. – Josh Nov 2 '15 at 17:28
2

The evidence in the films suggests that no, they can't see each other, but they can detect each other by other means.

We see what light speed looks like several times when the Falcon makes the jump: a ring of lights streaking past. This effect is constant throughout the series regardless of location and does not appear to allow light speed travelers to visually discern local space in anyway. Contrast this with, for example, Star Trek, where individual stars can be seen streaking by.

While there is no technology in our universe that would allow the ships to detect each other, clearly a universe that permits matter to move faster than light would allow energy to do so as well. The manner in which a ship's computer calculates a light speed jump suggests that it is scanning the path ahead much faster than the speed of light to make sure the path is clear. (The only other explanation is that every ship contains a complete and perfectly accurate model of at least the Galaxy, which is problematic enough before the empire starts blowing up planets and really throwing things off.)

However, this scanning technology does appear to be highly directional based on how easily one ship may elude another by jumping to light speed. Without knowing the exact direction to scan in, the pursuing ship seems to have no way of locating the ship that escaped it (which is pretty much always the Falcon). So it is probably possible for one ship to covertly stalk another at light speed and remain undetected (much like one submarine following another), but in the scenario you mention where the ships are aware of each other, they should be able to detect each other just fine. The computers would display the ships visually to the crew so they could be "seen" in this manner.

1

The answer is, if they are in close proximity to one another then yes they could see each other as they are motionless relative to one another.

However, it's more sticky than that. Unless timing is absolutely perfect in every stage of acceleration, one ship will quickly move out of sight of the other.

To add one more sticky point, if they are within close proximity to one another, their increasing gravity wells would start to pull the two ships into each other. The closer you get to light speed, the more mass you gain and therefore the greater the gravitation of you and your vessels.

-1

The answer is "no". I don't have canon cites at the moment, but in several Legends works it is shown that any attempts, ever, of finding a ship which entered hypserspace, is to try and follow their projected route of escape, and plot stars in that direction. Since this included situations where faster ships were the ones wanting to give chase, it's clear that if there was any way of hyperspace tracking from within hyperspace, such guesswork about "where the projected vector may go" wouldn't be necessary (and being really really poor results wise, wouldn't be chosen).

  • Need proof, but I'm pretty sure that was a technique used by Boba Fett to track Millenium Falcon in ESB. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Nov 2 '15 at 15:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.