You're onboard the Millennium Falcon. You give the command to jump to lightspeed. The stars outside turn into long streaks of light and you're off. It's one of the most memorable images of sci-fi space travel ever created. It's also likely to be pretty far from reality, according to a study by a group of students from the U.K.'s University of Leicester.
The study, titled "Relativistic Optics Strikes Back," was published in the University of Leicester's Journal of Physics Special Topics. You can indulge in all the delicious physics equations in the abstract.
The physics students started by imagining that the Millennium Falcon has accidentally wandered into our solar system, on a direct course for our sun. If it then engaged in near-lightspeed travel, the stars around it wouldn't appear to stretch out. Instead, it would look more like a disc of light.… Read more