In various scenes in Star Trek TNG will can see out of the windows. The Observation Lounge has a whole wall-full of windows. Then - why can you NEVER see other parts of the ship through the windows?

From the observation lounge, immediately behind the Main Bridge on Deck 1, you should see the top of the saucer section sloping gently away, the top of the Engineering section, and the nacelles. But you see none of this. Only space.

Another area is the shuttle-bays - with the door open, you should be able to see the external top of the saucer section just outside and the nacelles, but again, it's always just space.

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    I guess everyone on the Enterprise knows what the nacelles look like. There is little use in reminding them by displaying them day by day in the window. And stars are way more spaceyer, gives the crew a good "final-frontier-feeling"! And probably it's cheaper to produce... – Einer Jul 3 '14 at 10:04
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    I think 'cheaper to produce' is the real reason, your suggested in-universe reasons don't really do it for me – NickJ Jul 3 '14 at 10:23
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    It's not obvious that you "should" see the saucer section sloping down away from below the bottom of the window, at least not unless you are standing at the window and aiming your eyes (or camera) at a downward angle. If your line of sight is a horizontal and you're not standing too near the windows (as with pretty much all shots of the windows in the observation lounge I think), what makes you think the saucer section would be visible? – Hypnosifl Jul 3 '14 at 11:38
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    Also not clear why you think you should see the "top of the saucer section" from the shuttle bays, since the shuttle bay doors face in the opposite direction from the top of the saucer, see labels 8, 11, 28 and 32 at cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/blueprints/galaxy-08.jpg (from cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars/galaxy-class-starship.php ) – Hypnosifl Jul 3 '14 at 11:47
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    @BBlake Doesn't work. When on warp the stars are moving away from the window. If it would catch the light from the stars above, we would see the stars moving down the window. Maybe those windows are just view screens - like the one on the bridge. Then again: My initial theory (cheaper to produce) still feels more plausible to me. – Einer Jul 3 '14 at 16:34

The short answer is that this is indeed a production goof. As you can see from the quick'n'dirty wireframe animation I threw together, you should be able to see at least the top of the rear of the saucer section (but not the nacelles themselves) from the observation lounge windows.

No in-universe explanation is offered. This sort of production error is generally indicative of Bellisario's Maxim; the need to avoid examining a show too carefully and to recognise that...

...the story is being told by a small production team that (due to the limitations of the medium) has to work quickly, with limited budget and tight deadlines

enter image description here enter image description here

  • That's a pretty close match with the wireframe by larryniven at trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=237784&page=8 -- but I wonder, how much wiggle room is there in creating a 3D model from canon published deck plans? If you raised the floor (and the bottom of the windows) by a meter or two, would that make the saucer no longer visible from a seated perspective like in the video clip above? – Hypnosifl Jul 3 '14 at 19:13
  • @Hypnosifl - The short answer is no. Raising the horizon even a handful of degrees makes almost no difference in what you can see... – Valorum Jul 3 '14 at 19:19
  • thanks, I had forgotten that raising the floor a few meters would also involve raising the height of the viewer by the same amount, so it wouldn't just be a matter of lifting the blue lines in the wireframe while keeping the Enterprise at the same visual position in that graphic. – Hypnosifl Jul 3 '14 at 19:42
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    Good answer, upvoted despite including Admiral Necheyev in the clip. She's not very nice! – NickJ Jul 4 '14 at 9:03
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    @NickJ - She's just doing her job (and loving it). – Valorum Jul 4 '14 at 11:40

A little late to the party, but as for the Main Shuttlebay portion of the question, keep in mind that we've NEVER seen the interior of the E-D Main Shuttlebay. The closest we come is in "Cause and Effect", where we see into it a tiny ways from the exterior of the ship. Whenever we've seen characters in a shuttlebay or shuttles departing, it's always been in one of the smaller ones (because of the production limitations of the time). So those two are below the saucer section. Don't know why you wouldn't see the nacelles though.

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