Suppose if you were standing still relatively looking at an active Alcubierre Drive. I am aware of the fact that if you are inside an Alcubierre bubble you would not be able to see outside of it. I have seen little talk about looking outisde into inside of a Alcubierre bubble.

What would you see?
Would it show up as a black spot in the sky assuming you had something fast enough to capture it?
Would it show up as a bright light (old Star trek warp effect)?
Anything interesting in non-visible light spectrum?

  • $\begingroup$ Did you follow the link on the page below regarding NASA claim to be able to detect it. How they would do that might help you in finding out what it "looks" like....en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive $\endgroup$
    – user108787
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 19:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank for the link. I will take a read. Edit: That just the wikipedia article. Oh well I will go look for it. $\endgroup$
    – Vyndicu
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 19:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How would travel using an Alcubierre drive look to an outside observer? $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry Wikipedia linked it to the wrong NASA site, it's here. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$
    – user108787
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


Vyndicu asks: Suppose if you were standing still relatively looking at an active Alcubierre Drive. What would you see?

The SXS Collaboration has done some raytracing on this subject, that's how the gravitational lensing effect of an 1.5c Warp bubble which is moving from the left to the right would look like to a stationary observer:

Alcubierre Ray Tracing

In this example the observer is 5 bubble radii away from the Warp bubble's closest approach, and the red dot represents the ship in the center of the bubble.


If you could warp space the stars in front of you traveling forward would appear shrunk like looking backward through a telescope and the stars behind you expanded like looking the right way through a telescope. From the outside and from the front the ship would look tiny. From the back big like an eye in a magnifying glass distorted. From the side, small in the front of the ship and big in the back. You wouldn't see a bubble but the effects of it bending space like a black hole. Unfortunately it would like nothing like the Enterprise at warp speed standing still or moving along with it.

  • $\begingroup$ Your answer seem to be from inside of the bubble. Which isn't quite what I am asking. I am looking for a describe of how an Alcubierre bubble looks like from the outside to inside. $\endgroup$
    – Vyndicu
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Vyndicu got it $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 20:59

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