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version 8.0 - October 20th, 2001

 

Although unfortunately, distances are often concealed or avoided on Star Trek, there are nevertheless quite a lot of known distances. On the one hand, these distances are mentioned directly in the dialogue or displayed on computer screens, but more frequently, indirect figures and allusions are used, which can be transformed into actual distances. In chapter 1.2 of the Star Trek Cartography The Cartographer's tools, you can learn the methods and procedures for determining distances from indirect sources. The following table provides a nearly complete collection of all distances mentioned in the series, movies and official books (altogether 83), listing the starting points, destinations, distances and also the sources and the type of the figure (direct or indirect).

New in version 8: seven entries added, all distances revised and/or specified (now precise up to the third decimal place!), source episodes added/corrected, extensive annotations added.

 

1. Table of Star Trek distances

Starting point Destination Distance Source
Earth Acamar III (Theta Eridani) 161.316 ly TNG [057] The Vengeance Factor (real star)
Earth Alcyone (Eta Tauri, in Pleiades=M45)* 367.735 ly TNG [005] Haven (real star)
Earth Aldebaran III (Alpha Tauri) 65.119 ly TOS [002] Where No Man Has Gone Before, DS9 [036] Shadowplay, TOS [040] The Deadly Years, TNG [011] Hide and Q, TNG [130] Relics, DS9 [057] Past Tense I (real star)
Earth Algol (Alpha Aquilae)* 92.823 ly TNG [072] Ménage à Troi (real star)
Earth Alpha Centauri 4.395 ly TOS [031] Metamorphosis, DS9 [145] The Reckoning (real star)
Earth Alpha Eridani 143.819 ly TOS [036] Wolf in the Fold (real star)
Earth Altair III, IV, VI (Alpha Aquilae) 16.775 ly TNG [001] Encounter at Farpoint I, DS9 [062] Prophet Motive, TOS [034] Amok Time, ST:TSFS (real star)
Earth Antares IV (Alpha Scorpii) 604.039 ly ST:DS9 TM (real star)
Earth Arcturus (Alpha Bootis)* 36.711 ly ST:TMP (real star)
Earth Bellatrix (Gamma Orionis) 243.056 ly VOY [117] Relativity (real star)
Earth Beta Aurigae 82.120 ly TOS [079] Turnabout Intruder (real star)
Earth Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis)* 427.498 ly ST:TMP (real star)
Earth Cait (15 Lyncis)* 170.419 ly ST:TMP (real star)
Earth Caldos IV 200 ly TNG [154] Sub Rosa (directly given)
Earth Canopus (Alpha Carinae), Alpha Carinae II, V 312.734 ly TOS [002] Where No Man Has Gone Before, TOS [019] Arena, TOS [053] The Ultimate Computer, TOS [036] Wolf in the Fold (real star)
Earth Capella IV (Alpha Aurigae) 42.202 ly TOS [032] Friday's Child (real star)
Earth Cor Caroli V (Alpha Canum Venaticorum) 110.196 ly TNG [066] Allegiance (real star)
Earth Deneb IV, II, IV, V (Alpha Cygni), Alpha Cygni IX 3229.516 ly [042] The Trouble With Tribbles, TNG [001/002] Encounter at Farpoint I/II, TOS [036] Wolf in the Fold, TOS [041] I, Mudd, TOS [002] Where No Man Has Gone Before, TOS [041] I, Mudd, TNG [071] Sarek (real star)
Earth Epsilon Hydrae VII 135.177 ly DS9 [007] Q-Less (real star)
Earth Epsilon Indi 11.828 ly TOS [060] And the Children Shall Lead, TNG [027] The Child (real star)
Earth Galactic core 25800 ly NASA
Earth Gamma Hydrae II, IV (Neutral Zone) 132.111 ly TOS [040] The Deadly Years, ST:TWOK (real star)
Earth Gamma Tauri IV 154.077 ly TNG [005] The Last Outpost (real star)
Earth Gamma Trianguli VI 117.628 ly TOS [038] The Apple (real star)
Earth Izar (Epsilon Bootis) 209.763 ly TOS [071] Whom Gods Destroy (real star)
Earth Malkor III >2000 ly TNG [089] First Contact (directly given)
Earth Merak II (Beta Ursae Majoris) 79.421 ly TOS [074] The Cloud-Minders (real star)
Earth Mintaka III (Delta Orionis) 916.239 ly TNG [052] Who Watches the Watchers? (real star)
Earth Mira (Omicron Ceti), Omicron Ceti III 418.718 ly TNG [025] Conspiracy, TOS [025] This Side of Paradise (real star)
Earth Mizar II (Zeta Ursae Majoris) 78.165 ly TNG [066] Allegiance (real star)
Earth Ocampa planet (DQ) 75000 ly ST:DS9 TM, VOY [092] One (directly given)
Earth Pollux IV, V (Beta Geminorum) 33.717 ly TOS [033] Who Mourns For Adonais? (real star)
Earth Regulus V (Alpha Leonis) 77.496 ly TOS [034] Amok Time, TNG [057] The Vengeance Factor (real star)
Earth Rigel II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, XII (Beta Orionis) 772.941 ly TNG [141] Tapestry, TOS [017] Shore Leave, TNG [177] All Good Things I, TOS [036] Wolf in the Fold, TNG [096] Half a Life, TOS [044] Journey to Babel, TOS [001] The Cage, TOS [016] The Menagerie II, DS9 [009] The Passenger, ST:DS9 TM, TOS [001] The Cage, TOS [016] The Menagerie I, TOS [004] Mudd's Women (real star)
Earth "Rigel" X* >15 ly ENT [001/002] Broken Bow I/II
Earth Sheliak (Beta Lyrae) 881.571 ly TNG [050] The Ensigns of Command (real star)
Earth Sigma Draconis III, IV, VI 18.810 ly TNG [061] Spock's Brain (real star)
Earth Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris) 8.602 ly TOS [019] Arena (real star)
Earth Spica (Alpha Virginis)* 262.204 ly TOS [042] The Trouble With Tribbles (real star)
Earth Tau Ceti, Tau Ceti  Prime, Tau Ceti III 11.897 ly TOS [071] Whom Gods Destroy, VOY [056] Coda, Jeri Taylor's Mosaic, TNG [025] Conspiracy (real star)
Earth Theta Cygni XII 60.651 ly TOS [029] Operation: Annihilate! (real star)
Earth Vega (Alpha Lyrae) 25.299 ly TOS [001] The Cage, TOS [016] The Menagerie (real star)
Earth Velara III (in Pleiades = M45) app. 367 ly TNG [018] Home Soil (real star)
Earth Vulcan (40 Eridani A = Omicron² Eridani A) 16.454 ly TOS [031] Amok Time, Gene Roddenberry (real star)
Earth Wolf 359 7.798 ly TNG [075] Best of Both Worlds II (real star)
Earth Zibal (Zeta Eridani) 120.008 ly TNG [070] The Most Toys (real star)
 
Argus array Cardassian border (2370) 3 ly TNG [163] Parallels (directly given)
Argus array Cytheria (near the galactic core) 30000 ly TNG [093] The Nth Degree (directly given)
Barzan II Takar II (DQ) 70000 ly TNG [056] The Price (directly given)
Bilana III Lemma II 3 ly TNG [110] New Ground (directly given)
Cygnia Minor Benecia 8 ly TOS [013] The Conscience of the King (directly given)
Deep space station K-7 Klingon border 3.26 ly TOS [042] The Trouble with Tribbles (directly given)
Draygo IV Federation border 3 ly TNG [165] Homeward (directly given)
Galorndon Core Romulan Neutral Zone 0.5 ly TNG [055] The Enemy (directly given)
Illidaria (DQ) Quantum singularity type 4 (DQ) 3 ly VOY [002] Parallax (directly given)
J-25 Federation core 7000 ly TNG [042] Q Who (directly given)
J-25 Starbase 185 (Federation border) 4424.8 ly TNG [042] Q Who (2a 7m 3d 18h  at warp 9.2 [max. warp Enterprise-D])
J'naii Phelan system 2.5 ly TNG [118] The Outcast (directly given)
McAllister C5 nebula Minos Korva 11 ly TNG [136/137] Chain of Command (directly given)
McAllister C5 nebula Federation border 7 ly TNG [136/137] Chain of Command (directly given)
Minos Korva Border to the Cardassian Union 4 ly TNG [136/137] Chain of Command (directly given)
Qualor II Galorndon Core 0.935 ly TNG [120] Unification I (8h at warp 8)
Romulan Neutral Zone Lya III 45.5 ly TNG [026] The Neutral Zone (2h at warp 9.9999 [subspace radio])
Romulan Neutral Zone Romulus 3.621 ly TOS [015] Balance of Terror (Spock's map)
Romulan Neutral Zone Remus (Romii) 3.336 ly TOS [015] Balance of Terror (Spock's map)
Romulan Neutral Zone Typhon sector 4 ly ST:FC (5h 25min at warp 9.95 [max. warp Sovereign class])
Romulus Remus (Romii) 1.287 ly TOS [009] Balance of Terror (Spock's map)
Sikaris (DQ) Alastria (DQ) 40000 ly VOY [009] Prime Factors (directly given)
Sigma Iotia Federation border (2266) 100 ly TOS [049] A Piece of the Action (directly given)
Starbase 64 Tau Alpha C 550 ly TNG [079] Remember Me (123d at warp 9.2 [max. warp Enterprise-D])
 
Bajor Ajilon Prime 20 ly DS9 [102] Nor the Battle to the Strong (directly given)
Bajor AR-558 app. 50 ly DS9 [171] When It Rains ... (Map of the Dominion lines 2375)
Bajor Bajoran wormhole (GQ) 70000 ly ST:DS9 TM (directly given)
Bajor Badlands 0.449 ly DS9 [055] Defiant (6h at warp 7)
Bajor Cardassia Prime 5.25 ly ST:DS9 TM (directly given)
Bajor Cestus III 250 ly DS9 [072] Way of the Warrior (8 weeks at  warp 9.2 [max. warp?])
Bajor Ferenginar app. 65.5 ly ST:DS9 TM (map of Bajoran sector)
Bajor "Core planets of the  Federation" 50.3 ly ST:DS9 TM (directly given)
Bajor Regulus III 300 ly DS9 [056] Fascination (directly given)
Bajor Starbase 375 app. 30.8 ly ST:DS9 TM (map of Bajoran sector)
Bajor Trill app. 30 ly DS9 [050] Equilibrium [37h at max. warp]
Bajoran wormhole (GQ) Ennis moon 0.35 ly DS9 [013] Battle Lines (directly given)
Bajoran wormhole (GQ) LS-VI 6 ly DS9 [032] The Alternate (directly given)

Distances in italics: ultra-precise HIPPARCOS figures
DQ=Delta Quadrant, QQ=Gamma Quadrant
* Added in v8.0


2. Annotations

With these distances, we can assume that the colonies of the Federation (with exception of Rigel and Antares) and the "classic" empires of the Romulans and Klingonsare all within 200 ly away from Earth. Lacking of every indication what the distance Earth-Bajor or Earth-Cardassia might be until recently, since the ST:DS9 TM the distances of this "next generation" locations to the core region of the Federation is slightly clearer.

While real stars distances are highly accurate as they are based on the newest data available (from the 1990s HIPPARCOS satellite survey), somehow even revising older information (e.g. the 3200 vs. 1600 light years for the distance Earth - Deneb), all figures calculated from a time / distance / speed given in on screen dialogue must be regarded as conjecture minimum figures, as the light speed equivalents of warp factors (from the TOS/TNG Writer's Guide used by the creative staff of the series, and the official technical manuals) and various warp formulae are semi-canon at best and have been contricted in many episodes, leading to the theory that the true speed of warp factors varies according to locally different properties of space and subspace (expressed with the "Cochrane factor" X) and can be therefore higher than the given values (explaining the incredibly short travel times seen in some episodes).

Distances drawn from maps must be regarded as conjecture as well due to perspective / scale / validity uncertainties.

Locations from ST:TMP such as Betelgeuse or Cait have not been mentioned in dialogue but are strictly taken from background information. It is pretty certain, however, that they indeed exist in the Star Trek universe, as they are stars from the real Galaxy.

To end an old speculation, the real star 40 Eridani-A has never been mentioned in any Trek episode as the Vulcan home sun, including [TOS] Amok Time, even if this episode is often quoted as the source. It first appeared in early fandom publications of the 1970s. The episode Amok Time, however, includes some facts that support this assumption, such as the neighbourhood of Altair. Why do I regard 40 Eridani then still as fully canon? Gene Roddenberry himself "made it official" in 1991, and I don't know how more "canon" you can get. Please refer to the astronomy section of this website's Investigating Trek project for more information on the Vulcan home sun.

With its almost 800 light years distance, the real star Rigel has often been quoted as too far away from Earth to be indeed the central star of the important Star Trek system (mentioned in more than a dozen episodes!). While we had no evidence to really reject Rigel = Beta Orionis in the past, the pilot of the new series "Enterprise", "Broken Bow" clearly establishes that at least the "Rigel" mentioned in this episode, and the associated alien trading colony on the tenth planet, cannot have any relation to the real star for four reasons: 800 light years in 4 days are, even with the "Cochrane factor" justification, too far a stretch, the distance contradicts with the "15 light years from our current position" statement, the good Captain does not know anything about the system when he learns about it (while he should know it if it's the star known to Earth science for two thousand years) and, first and foremost, how should a Klingon source know anything about our Arabic designations for stars? "Rigel" can only be a alien homophone here, and it may be a homophone as well in some of the other mentions, comfortably solving the distance problem plus the improbabilities that a) one star has so many class M planets and b) that Beta Orionis has a planet that has developed intelligent life on its own (impossible given the short life span of super giants).

This compilation uses the 70000 light years / 75000 light years figures for the distance Earth-Ocampa and Bajor-Idran from the DS9:TM simply because the many on screen sources itself are too inconsistent with distances from 60000 to 90000 light years for the Gamma Quadrant terminus of the Bajoran Wormhole in DS9 and alternating distances of 70000 and 75000 light years for Voyager's initial distance to Earth.

In contrast to 40 Eridani/Vulcan, the fandom assignations for Andor and Tellar, Epsilon Indi and 61 Cygni are not included here, as they have never been backed up by any official information or member of the Star Trek staff. On contrary, Epsilon Indi as Andorian home sun is quite unlikely given that this system was mentioned twice in Trek without any hint regarding its alleged prominent inhabitants.

Other possible real star distances that were not included for some reason:

Ceti Alpha V/VI - Most fandom sources conjecture that this is simply the reversed notation of the real star Alpha Ceti (Menkar), but this star's distance to Earth (over 300 light years) is far too large given the course of events shown in Star Trek II. It's true that the too large distances of many other real stars cause problems too, however, I will accept these discrepancies only if we can be sure that it's indeed the real star (when the name is identical or practically identical, such as a wrong genitive form for the constellation).

Delta Vega  - Given that this planet's name includes the proper designation of a real star (Vega = Alpha Lyrae), one could assume that this is a different notation system specifying the number of the planet by greek letters (delta = forth planet). Again, the on screen events forbid this sometimes applied speculation, given that according to the second TOS pilot, this planet must be near the edge of the Galaxy. Because of this uncertainty, similar explanations for Beta Antares and Delta Rana are not accepted here, too.

Alpha Majoris  - It is mere speculation that this TOS planet orbits the real star Alpha Canis Majoris, as it could be Alpha Ursae Majoris as well. The proposed connection is simply too vague. The just as daring explanation of Zetar (= Zeta Reticuli) is rejected for similiar reasons.

 

 

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