Null geodesics in the alcubierre warp-drive spacetime: The view from the bridge

Chad Clark*, William A. Hiscock, Shane L. Larson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The null geodesic equations in the Alcubierre warp-drive spacetime are numerically integrated to determine the angular deflection and redshift of photons which propagate through the distortion of the 'warp-drive' bubble to reach an observer at the origin of the warp effect. We find that for a starship with an effective warp speed exceeding the speed of light, stars in the forward hemisphere will appear closer to the direction of motion than they would to an observer at rest. This aberration is qualitatively similar to that caused by special relativity. Behind the starship, a conical region forms from within which no signal can reach the starship, an effective 'horizon'. Conversely, there is also a horizon-like structure in a conical region in front of the starship, into which the starship cannot send a signal. These causal structures are somewhat analogous to the Mach cones associated with supersonic fluid flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3965-3972
Number of pages8
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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