close menu
Because Science

What Would Jumping to Hyperspace Really Look Like?

There really is no understating just how much Star Wars has affected popular culture. Ever since A New Hope came out 40 years ago today, the landscape of what sci-fi movies would sound like, feel like, and maybe most consequentially, look like, has shifted dramatically towards the franchise’s style. Think about it: what does so-called “hyperspace” look like? I’m sure you can picture streaking stars in your mind’s eye. But that’s just what Star Wars established. But what would making the jump really look like?

In my latest Because Science, I’m using math and physics to figure out what would happen if you were seated in a spaceship and suddenly approached light-speed. What would you see? How different would it be from what Han and Chewie first showed audiences four decades ago?


Weird things happen when you go really, really fast. As Einstein’s theories expertly elucidated, when you move towards light, the light itself warps around you, kind of like how rain appears to change direction when you run though it.

The color of light also changes. Move towards or away from a light source fast enough and the apparent frequency of the light will change, in a phenomenon known as either redshifting or blueshifting.

So jump to hyperspace, and weird things would happen to the light you can see, but not quite like the view from the Millennium Falcon. To see the scientific sight for yourself, check out my latest episode above!

Check out my last video on the complete (almost) lifecycle of the xenomorphs from ALIEN; subscribe to this playlist to stay current with the show; buy a Because Science shirt, mug, hat, or collectible pin (you know why); and follow me on Twitter to give me a suggestion for the next episode or on Instagram where I’m now posting extra mini-episodes!

Want Because Science days (!) before anyone else? Subscribe to Alpha for early access to the show and other nerdery.

Everything Wrong With STARGATE Is Kind of Overwhelming

Everything Wrong With STARGATE Is Kind of Overwhelming

The Mutant Season

The Mutant Season : Doug Brochu

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s Your First Look at XKCD’s WHAT IF?

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s Your First Look at XKCD’s WHAT IF?