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In Star Trek: Generations Soran blows up the Veridian star in order to change the course of the Nexus ribbon. But blowing up a star does not change the quantity of mass in the general area where the star used to be, so the total force of gravity would not change (it would still be contained within the orbit of the Veridian system when the ribbon changed course)

The explosion caused a shock wave and maybe even dispersed some of the outer shell but the ribbon's course was changed well before the shock wave reached Veridian III.

How did blowing up the star change the course of the Nexus?

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    I think it was probably bad science on the part of the writer, but you could explain it if Soran's rocket created some kind of wormhole, matter-energy conversion, or phase shift (phenomena familiar to Trek) that sent a significant portion of the mass somewhere else. – John Sensebe Aug 23 '16 at 14:02
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    @JohnSensebe I was thinking along those lines. Soran used a trilithium weapon. We know dilithium is used in regulating warp power, so possibly trilithium uses free energy from the explosion to create some warp or phasing effects. – Xplodotron Aug 23 '16 at 15:24
  • Silly of me to use hidden text for something that already appears in the question. – Xplodotron Aug 23 '16 at 15:46
  • @Xplodotron - It's hardly a spoiler to begin with. I recall it was in the trailer. – Valorum Aug 23 '16 at 17:59
  • There is a fallacy about the idea that is does not change the quantity of the mass in the general area. While this statement is true is is not helpful. The mass distribution in the general area changes, and this will have an impact on local gravitational forces. In Relativity terms, the curvature of the region will be adjusted. Enough to matter for a nexus ribbon? It is fiction, roll with it. – Lighthart Aug 23 '16 at 18:01
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Caution, treknobabble warning.

The destruction of the Amargosa Star occurs due to the presence of a

quantum implosion.

that results in the star immediately going dark.

Literally the only way this could occur is if a large portion of the star's mass and energy had gone elsewhere. The presence of trilithium (a substance with known subspace properties) could have caused the star to extrude mass into a separate quantum domain, hence why it was a quantum implosion rather than just a plain old implosion.

Not only did the star implode, it simultaneously exploded into another universe. This would cause a loss of mass and hence the system would exert less gravity on the ribbon.

  • I love love love it! – Xplodotron Aug 23 '16 at 18:14
  • Does it actually say anywhere that it's a quantum implosion? Or did you just pull that out of your other universe? – Xplodotron Aug 26 '16 at 16:11
  • @Xplodotron - PICARD: Report. RIKER: A quantum implosion has occurred within the Amargosa star. All nuclear fusion is breaking down. PICARD: How is that possible? / chakoteya.net/movies/movie7.html – Valorum Aug 26 '16 at 16:12
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I think the key is the destruction of the star spreads it's matter out all over the star system. The gravitational forces are no longer at the point of the star.

In the dialogue between Data and Picard:

PICARD: It's close to Veridian Three ...but not close enough. ...Data, what would happen to the ribbon's course if Soran destroyed the Veridian star itself? ...That's where he's going.
DATA: It should be noted, sir, that the collapse of the Veridian star would produce a shock wave similar to the one we observed at Amargosa.
PICARD: Destroying all the planets in this system. - Generations transcript

enter image description here

The Enterprise moves to avoid the shock wave from the destruction of the Amargosa star.

Slightly before in the above conversation.

DATA: The destruction of the Amargosa star has altered the gravitational forces throughout this sector. As a result any ship passing through this region would have to make a minor course correction.

He says it is a minor course change, so it wasn't like everything in the universe was affected by this redistribution of gravity, but it was enough that things within the system were affected (ships need to change course, planets were destroyed, etc).

Sounds to me like the gravity would be equalized across the system, instead of being focused at the center, where it could affect the path of the Nexus.

For reference I've added the shots of the Nexus' course being changed by the absence of the Veridian star.

enter image description here

enter image description here

All pictures sourced from http://movie-screencaps.com/star-trek-generations-1994/29/

  • Damn fine answer. But Newton proved the validity of the Shell Theorem to simplify the calcluations: the gravity of any mass symmetrically distributed in a sphere can be calculated (from outside that sphere) as if all the mass was concentrated in a point. So, assuming the star blew up in a spherical manner (yes, an assumption) the spreading out of the star's mass would not change the effect of that mass' gravity. I think. – Xplodotron Aug 23 '16 at 15:44
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    Actually, if the Nexus were passing close enough, it would be within the shell after the star was destroyed. – John Sensebe Aug 23 '16 at 15:50
  • Huh? We know the ribbon was not within the shell because it passed Veridian III before the shockwave reached it. – Xplodotron Aug 23 '16 at 16:47
  • @Xplodotron the timing of the star's death and when the Nexus passes by the planet is the gaping hole in this explanation, unless Soran's starkiller torpedo destroys matter. – Jack B Nimble Aug 23 '16 at 17:07
  • @JackBNimble I always took it as the matter was just converted into energy, hence why you see that large energy pulse that comes from the star and evaporates the planets. – CBredlow Aug 23 '16 at 17:32

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