The USS Enterprise NCC-1701 appears to have a clear dome over the bridge:

NCC - 1701

There is a scene in the pilot that zooms in and peers into the bridge from space:

bridge from space

Does the crew have the ability to see through the dome into space?

  • 1
    Isn't that screenshot from the remastered versions? Sheesh. First Lucas and the prequel trilogy, now Sternbach and Okuda have done it to the real Star Trek. Sigh.
    – Tango
    Mar 24, 2012 at 4:05
  • 2
    This is the remastered shot, not the original, but the intent is the same.
    – SteveED
    Mar 24, 2012 at 22:48
  • 2
    @SteveED - But in the original, it's not clear the intent was that it was an actual see-through dome, as opposed to it just being a type of "iris in" shot (see the "iris" section on this page) where the iris started out conveniently fitted to the circular top of the ship, just as a clever visual transition that emphasized we were cutting to a scene located inside that section of the ship.
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 20, 2014 at 16:45
  • I never liked the idea of the bridge being right up there, in such a vulnerable position. It belonged smack in the center of the ship, surrounded by as much protection as possible. I'm sure that it was placed where it was simply for the sake of that zoom in shot that we saw in the earliest episodes. I can't think of any other reason.
    – user42428
    Mar 1, 2015 at 3:22
  • 1
    I always assumed it was a "cutaway" shot - that the ceiling was opaque.
    – Anthony X
    Sep 10, 2016 at 20:10

7 Answers 7


We never see the complete bridge ceiling from inside in any episode of TOS. We see it for the first time in TAS and it is definitely opaque.

It could have been that the producers realized that showing space on the inside ceiling was beyond the FX technology of the time and decided to give up on it after the pilot.

I believe that the pilot episode zoom in may have represented a more symbolic approach showing the audience that the bridge was on top (ie most important part) of the ship.

  • Roddenberry rejected TAS as non-canon as soon as they got the go to start on Star Trek: Phase II (which became _Star Trek: The Motion Picture). When he was offered the chance to do TAS, he thought he'd never have any other chance to do Trek on TV or film, so he took it, but once he got another chance, he basically wiped the slate clean and said TAS never happened.
    – Tango
    Mar 24, 2012 at 16:59
  • 1
    Roddenberry accepted TAS as cannon by the 2nd season of TNG, and probably after he realized he could make quite a lot of money off of selling the rights to VHS and disc.
    – SteveED
    Mar 24, 2012 at 22:47
  • Personally, I would find a transparent dome above my head in space VERY distracting... and likely disorienting as well. Talk about space-sickness...
    – Omegacron
    Nov 21, 2014 at 15:28

No. What you see is a retro filming style. The Dome was opaque.

I've discovered a scene in S03E02 to prove it:
Dome of USS Enterprise NCC-1701 from inside

Thanks to @TangoOversway for the screenshot idea.

  • Uh, that's the same part of the dome that I show in the screen shots -- the part above the red boarder on the lower ceiling with the lights on it.
    – Tango
    Mar 24, 2012 at 16:38
  • 1
    But, it covers a large part of dome & gives a feeling that its really a dome (from interior view).
    – user931
    Mar 24, 2012 at 16:44
  • 1
    No more than shown in the wide shot of the empty bridge. Both basically come to the limit of the "dome" on the original bridge set.
    – Tango
    Mar 24, 2012 at 17:01
  • The point is to cover upper part of dome.. not surface area!
    – user931
    Mar 24, 2012 at 17:04
  • 3
    I like this answer. The image really makes the dome visible.
    – Kalamane
    May 12, 2012 at 20:42

In "The Cage", there's a shot at the beginning of the episode where the camera comes right through a transparent dome. It's evident that the Enterprise at least had a transparent dome at some point.

  • I edited my question to add a picture of it. Thanks! Mar 23, 2012 at 23:40

The top dome over the bridge is opaque. Here are a few screenshots from various episodes to illustrate that. (By the way, that's an exterior light, not a view of the Bridge.)

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 2
    None of your photos display bottom-to-up view of dome..
    – user931
    Mar 24, 2012 at 1:12
  • 1
    @SachinShekhar: While they don't show directly overhead, they do show the dome itself. And if you look at the models, such as the one linked to, there is a lit area above or overhead, so nothing on the exterior indicates any window, either.
    – Tango
    Mar 24, 2012 at 4:03
  • In real life there was no overhead dome to allow lights to be placed to brighten the set for shooting. Also, the walls came loose so that if they were filming one wall, the opposite one was pulled away for cameras.
    – Oldcat
    May 20, 2014 at 17:27

This image from "Is there In Truth No Beauty" appears to show a partial dome.enter image description here


(yes, this is rather late)

There would, in reality, be zero need to have a transparent ceiling on a starship bridge. The bridge will very likely not be anywhere near the top of the ship in any case - why put your command center and senior personnel in such an obvious, exposed location? One good phaser hit and the ship is decapitated.

Oceangoing vessels, aircraft etc. put the bridge on top so they can see where they are going - ships that rely on sensors (like submarines) don't. A submarine's bridge is in the main pressure hull below the sail, and it's only there because the command officers need quick access to the periscope and occasionally the top of the sail. The latest generation of subs (Virginia class) don't use optical periscopes and the bridge is now more-or-less in the center of the boat on deck 2. Of course, this wasn't the case in 1966 (or even 1987).

  • 1
    While Starfleet is militarily structured, defense it not their sole purpose. At least equally important are exploration, diplomacy, research... None of the Enterprises were intended as ships of war. First contact becomes way harder if show up with a battle cruiser, with ranking officers hiding deep in the belly of the ship.
    – Einer
    May 20, 2014 at 13:24
  • 2
    A sub's bridge is on top of the sail. The compartment in the pressure hull with the periscope, chart table, and commanding officer is the control room. May 20, 2014 at 13:41
  • 1
    I'll accept that technicality, but no one stays on a sub's top-of-the-sail bridge for any significant length of time. When the dive buzzer goes off, the 1-2 people that can fit up there quickly go below and close the hatch. It has no significant apparatus to operate the vessel. The sub's control room serves the same purpose as the bridge on any other vessel.
    – paul
    May 20, 2014 at 13:51
  • 1
    In this case, the Bridge of the Enterprise is indeed on top of the saucer under the dome. May 20, 2014 at 13:54
  • No, they weren't intended as warships, but every one is capable of stepping up to the plate when needed. If you were captain, would you travel the galaxy with just a thin piece of transparent aluminum between you and the hostilities of nature? ( 10-forward and the cabins with windows can be evacuated easily, the bridge cannot). My point is basically that there are zero reasons to put the bridge of a large spacecraft on the top with a big window. If anyone belongs up there with the dome it would be stellar cartography or the officer's lounge.
    – paul
    May 20, 2014 at 13:57

It might not make any sense but the top of the saucer section is where the bridge is located. It may well be that it has the facility to become transparent or opaque at command and may have the facility to cover up with blast shield when needed.

  • 4
    Welcome to the site. Do you have any evidence to support your answer?
    – Moogle
    Sep 10, 2014 at 16:10
  • Another possibility it that it is an upper sensor array there is a similar dome on the very bottom of the saucer section.
    – user76394
    Feb 23, 2019 at 2:00

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