I have some pure astronomic / physics questions, that are 100% inspired by a scifi work. E.g.:

  • Star needs thosands of years, if not more, to go to nova and to dectect it a wide range of measurements must be conducted; how could Picard detect such event (in "The Inner Light" episode of Star Trek Next Generation) during only 10 years and using only a telescope?

Where such question would fit better (in anywhere)? Here or on Physics?

  • Notable detail is that it isn't Picard doing the detection, it's a local whose memory was uploaded to the probe. Picard is just watching that person's memories play out. That person was the person who actually did the astrophysics work to predict the nova.
    – user1027
    Jan 4, 2015 at 21:35
  • I have reprhased this question a little bit and asked it on... Worldbuilding. Response simply killed me, including this great answer.
    – trejder
    Jan 5, 2015 at 13:42
  • I have just found out Space Exploration. Got no damn idea, why it was extracted from Astronomy.SE, but it also sounds like a good place for asking such questions.
    – trejder
    Jan 5, 2015 at 20:17

3 Answers 3


It definitely won't be on topic here, since scientific explanations are off topic here.

I'm not so sure about the Physics site, since I don't use it, but a question like that sounds like it'd be off topic there as well.

Maybe a question like

Star needs thousands of years, if not more, to go to nova and to dectect it a wide range of measurements must be conducted; is it possible for someone to do this in only 10 years using a telescope, like Picard did in ...

would be on topic, but still I can't be sure.

There is also an Astronomy SE site that might accept the question.

But the simplest answer to your question would be that Star Trek is something fictional; not everything has to be 100% scientifically accurate.

  • If the question is SFF, a scientific answer is not off-topic here. This question is iffy, though
    – Izkata
    Jan 4, 2015 at 20:25
  • 1
    Is it really a question about scientific explanations, or is it a question about technology in the Star Trek universe: e.g. what device/technology did Picard use to detect the event?
    – phantom42
    Jan 4, 2015 at 20:43
  • @phantom42 this needs clarification from OP then. As I see the question right now, it simply asks for scientific explanations Jan 4, 2015 at 21:20
  • My memory of the episode is rusty, but I believe the locals that were accomplishing this weren't particularly science-fictiony when it came to their technological development (excluding the probe which caused Picard to relive the memories). They were analogous to our current technology, maybe a few decades advanced.
    – user1027
    Jan 4, 2015 at 21:36

If you rephrase it to match the circumstances, without making it seem like a Star Trek question, it would probably be on topic for Astronomy.SE, and maybe Physics.SE. At least, assuming the character whose memories Picard was reliving wasn't using technology that doesn't currently exist in the real world. It would be a straightforward astrophysics question:

Given <insert technology available>, how could I detect when the local star is going nova?

Maybe add a comment mentioning that the question is inspired by The Inner Light, so people understand the nature of the question.


Depending on the question, Worldbuilding.SE may be your huckleberry. You may want to ask on their Meta; as well as use their Sandbox feature

  • Your answer came two hours after my comment, that I have actually asked that question on Worldbuilding.se. Some kind of backward time loop? :>
    – trejder
    Jan 5, 2015 at 20:08
  • @trejder - more likely an older page load and I didn't bother refreshing the comments. Sorry for duplicating Jan 5, 2015 at 20:14
  • Absolutely no problem (and no need to sorry), at least at my side. I found it simply funny. Nothing more, nothing bad! :>
    – trejder
    Jan 5, 2015 at 20:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .