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Resource Help with story details: Hyperspace and time

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by JarenJade, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. JarenJade

    JarenJade Jedi Master star 1

    Aug 28, 2009
    Hi folks,

    I need some help with details around time spent in hyperspace. Specifically, how long does it typically take to get from one destination to the next?

    Is there an accepted and canonical construct of time it takes to travel through space onboard a ship, for example, how long does it takes to get from "one side of the galaxy to the next"?

    I'm asking because in my story character development will take place while the heroes are travelling through space looking for the McGuffin. Ideally I was hoping for the characters to be onboard the ship for a few weeks where relationships can developed, tension and rise, etc, etc.

    Further, does being in "wild space" significantly slow things down travel wise?

    I hope you all get what I'm getting at.
    Oddly_Salacious and Kahara like this.
  2. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    Unfortunately, I think the answer is, "It depends."

    It depends on if there's a hyperspace lane that can be utilized. It depends on the particular ship's hyperdrive. It depends on the navigation calculations and available data (this is one part where being in Wild Space could really slow things down for the group). It depends what astronomical phenomena are in between the origin and destination. It depends if the ship has to stop and refuel along the way.

    IMHO, I would also say it depends on which era's canon you're trying to adhere to. In the PT and OT movies, there was more of a sense of the ships being in hyperspace for extended periods. I think Legends EU followed that as well. While I love the ST movies, one of the things that makes me a bit batty about them is that their hyperspace transit seems to be instantaneous or extremely short, which causes problems when trying to keep things consistent between the eras.

    I think most of the time, hyperspace travel takes place at the speed of plot. There are ways to slow it down if you need it slowed down. All of the "it depends" factors can be a start.

    The Wizards of the Coast Star Wars Roleplaying Game Revised Core Rulebook (published in 2002) has some info on hyperspace travel and a chart for hyperspace travel times. It lists the expected base travel time from a certain region of space to another (i.e. Deep Core to Inner Rim) along with modifiers. If you'd like, I can send you some of that info via PM. Since it's an RPG and you're looking for canon info, though, I wasn't sure if it was what you were looking for.
  3. Outsourced

    Outsourced Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 10, 2017
    Time in hyperspace boils down to "what does the story need it to be". There are a lot of ways you can rationalize it out, but that's what it boils down to.
    Kit', Oddly_Salacious and Kahara like this.
  4. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
    I honestly don't think any of us could have answered your question any more simply or concisely than that.
  5. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Someone posted a site a while back that was supposed to calculate it for you -- but I couldn't figure out how to make it work. :p Still, if anyone remembers where that is.
  6. Oddly_Salacious

    Oddly_Salacious Jedi Master star 1

    Dec 5, 2005
    The physics of the Star Wars galaxy do not appear as developed as Vernor Vinge's Milky Way Galaxy in A Fire on The Deep (i.e., The Unthinking Depths, The Slow Zone, and The Beyond). As to relativistic speeds and time dilation (if you hold the speed of light to a constant), these probably wouldn't have an impact on hyper-dimensional transits. Some Famous SW Person did come up with the idea that mass shadows in realspace do have an effect on hyperspace (canon now: Interdictor-class cruisers). So, setting aside spacetime as realspace constructs, gravitational waves could yet distend, distort, and disrupt the conditions necessary for a realspace object to remain in hyperspace. Hyper-dimensional turbulence would add some spice to a story #fractalGeometry #chaosTheory #entropy #complexNumbers.

    I like where you're going with the plot and tone (Crusoe-type story; man-vs-*).
    Kahara likes this.
  7. Mechalich

    Mechalich Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 2, 2010
    In some sense the relationship between navigation and travel times in hyperspace is far less like actually plotting a course through any sort of physical space, and more like sending information over the internet. Hyperspace has its own topology, which is anything but even, and certain pathways, by virtue of both physical phenomena and extremely high rates of travel with navigation adjusting in real-time increments at tiny fractions of a second, are extremely rapid - the super-hyperlanes such as the Corellian Run and Hydian Way - while areas that possess astronomical obstacles and are rarely used have a functionally much lower bandwidth by comparison.

    To extend this analogy, Wild Space is the hyperspace equivalent of dial-up while the rest of the galaxy is on some form of broadband (ranging from weak DSL to blazing fast military priority channels), while traveling the Unknown Regions is rather like going out and laying the cable yourself while trying to make a new connection. Additionally certain groups - like the Hutts, an important TCW plot point - have their own navigational databases that are not connected to the standard ones allowing them to plot efficient routes that no one else knows about, which is similar to having an independent communication network that's not integrated with the overall internet.

    What this actual means in practice is that there really is not any consistent relationship between physical distance between any two points on the galactic map and how much time it takes to travel between them. You can go from one end of the galaxy to the other in what is supposedly a matter of hours if you're just traveling the Hydian Way the whole distance, while it might take days to travel between two adjacent unknown star systems. The Essential Atlas strongly implies that most long-distance travel consists of traveling to the nearest big hyperlane, riding the network toward the terminus nearest your destination, and then plodding that final stretch (this is also analogous to making foot-subway-foot trips in many major cities).
    Gamiel, Kit', Tarsier and 1 other person like this.
  8. JarenJade

    JarenJade Jedi Master star 1

    Aug 28, 2009
    Thank you to everyone who responded. This forum is such a good source. I think you've all helped me get around this small hurdle I've encountered. I especially like the idea of "mass shadows" you mentioned Oddly Salacious, but Thumper09 was the truest and most succinct - I had lost some sight I think. But yes, I shall be using some of these ideas specifically. Again, thank you all.
    jcgoble3, Kit' and Kahara like this.
  9. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Nov 7, 2010
    Another idea, if you want to really slow down hyperspace travel, is to blow the primary hyperdrive and force the characters to use the backup hyperdrive to limp to the nearest port. A large capital ship would have a fast backup hyperdrive, but a small ship like the Millennium Falcon would not have space for two really fast hyperdrives, so the backup would be much smaller at the expense of being much slower. This is what happened to Han and Leia in Empire Strikes Back; according to The Essential Atlas, they spent "weeks" traveling to Bespin (which is in the same neighborhood as Hoth) on the Falcon's backup hyperdrive, allowing for Luke to receive a significant amount of training on Dagobah.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020