At this point, Zefram Cochrane turned the ship around, and commented just how small Earth looked

  • The body of your question should also be in the form of a question, ie ends with a question mark. Simply copying and pasting half of a sentence from somewhere else is not good enough. Questions should show that you have put some effort into thinking about the content and making sure that it is well written.
    – JK.
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


The route of the Phoenix is shown in the Star Trek: Star Charts factbook. The distance travelled appears to be approximately the diameter of Earth's orbit (e.g. 16 light minutes).

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In the film (and the film's novelisation), the ship travels at lightspeed (Warp 1) for what appears to be several minutes. We then cut to the action on board the Enterprise, they throttle down, turn around and then repeat their journey in the opposite direction.

The ship around him seemed to dissolve. He felt himself go hurtling forward, weightless, as if his entire body had been launched from a giant slingshot. The stars surrounding him suddenly blurred, then began to streak past at dizzying speed.

Zefram Cochrane let go a scream—of fear, of exhilaration, of the purest joy—and with it, released ten years‟ worth of grief and cynicism, pain and hopelessness.



Inside the cockpit, the ride had smoothed out considerably, but the mood was still rapidly ascending.

“That should be enough. Throttle back; bring us out of warp,” Riker told Cochrane, with as much professionalism as he could muster—which wasn't much, since he'd been grinning so hard his cheeks literally began to ache. They had done it, really done it, and from the look of elation on Cochrane's face, Will had no doubt that, within another hundred years or so, the statue of the great Zefram Cochrane would be standing next to the silo, precisely where it was supposed to be.

First Contact - Official Novelisation

This distance tallies nicely with his description of the Earth as a naked eye blue dot, slightly brighter than the background stars.

  • 3
    The problem with that diagram is that the size of the Earth is not to scale with the size of the Earth's orbit, and it doesn't look as though the diagram specifies whether the "route of the Phoenix" is meant to be to scale with the latter or the former (or if it's a purely schematic diagram). Also, at 3:34 in this clip from the movie, after dropping out of warp the Phoenix swings around to look back at the Earth, it doesn't look like a star-sized dot as it would if their distance was anywhere near the diameter of Earth's orbit.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 22:04
  • 1
    @Hypnosifl - I think that asking for any level of scientific consistency here is just not gonna happen. The books and the film are at odd with reality on a bunch of different levels.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 22:16
  • Sure, but we needn't add on more layers of unbelievability than necessary, it seems much simpler to assume they took a shorter trip. I had a look at the novel and I didn't see anything about the trip lasting "several minutes", are you basing that solely on the apparent size of the trip in the diagram? In the movie a little less than a minute passes between when they jump to warp and drop back out (though in between there's a cut to a scene of Picard fighting the Borg Queen, and cuts in movies can't always be assumed to be flipping between scenes unfolding simultaneously in real time).
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 22:34
  • @Hypnosifl - The chart is consistent(ish) with the account in the script, seen in the film and in the novelisation). It was an in-system jump that lasted several minutes there and back. Beyond that, we really don't have a consistent flight-plan, noting that it's a film about space monsters versus moon-men
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 22:36
  • Again, what is your evidence that it lasted "several minutes"? In the youtube clip they jump to warp at 2:30 and drop out at 3:26, and as I said we don't know how much time elapsed on the Phoenix in the scene of Picard fighting the Borg Queen that was between those two scenes. The book cuts between scenes in the same way from p. 232-237, so while movie and book are both compatible with a trip lasting a few minutes, they're also compatible with a short trip lasting say 10 seconds.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Nov 1, 2021 at 22:50

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