Thursday, 21 May 2015

Wormholes: Basic function

'Basic' in this case being a relative term. But not a specific relativistic term... Or a special relativity term.

Wow, I managed to get confusing in the first paragraph. Let's start again?

Low-sec wormhole, captured from the deck of a Svipul scout destroyer

Wormholes are areas in space which allow you to travel from one point in space-time to a very distant one.

In practical terms, you go in one end, and pop out somewhere else, which could be theoretically on the other side of the universe. And in New Eden, that's exactly what it does. Scan it down, pass through, and you've found a short cut between Jita and Dodixie.

If all you're looking for is how to use a wormhole, then that's pretty much it. Nothing special, just a glorified jump gate.

According to the maths, it's not quite that simple. And I'll avoid maths as much as I can, and stick to description and analogy.

What's really important to remember is that this is all analogy. To really understand it, you need to know the equations. Language and human perception is simply not robust enough to comprehend what's happening. That's not to say you're dumb for not being able to, it's just that our imagination is more developed than our ability to perceive... one of the little quirks of the brain being primarily a predictor rather than a reactor.

You've probably seen this?

Makes it easier to understand.

Two things to remember:
  • The green grid represents 3D space-time.
  • Look at the yellow line. It does not jump off the green sheet. It follows it down the pipe.
You may have seen various sci-fi shows where you'll see ships zipping down tunnels. That's not really happening. You're not going to see a tunnel, and any wormhole resident will tell you that doesn't happen in New Eden.

You literally go in and come out... barring a few seconds where even the capsule can't process what's happening around it. No tunnel effects like you get from a jump gate, or acceleration lines you'd see from a intra-system warp.

Wormholes in New Eden aren't like acceleration tubes. They are literal short cuts. The best analogy is just a tunnel through a mountain. You still go at walking pace. It's just that the distance is shorter.

Here's a nice piece of evidence to show this:

Light passes through from the other side off the whole. We can see the system on the other side... I believe this one is a C4? You can identify them from the colour.

However, and I'm going to say this a lot... it's not that simple.

This, in fact, is kind of weird.

Light isn't acting as expected, or at least as far as my limited knowledge at this stage goes. I need more information. Time to hit the books, and do more research to understand what I'm seeing here.

But for now, that's a basic overview of what a wormhole does.

Just as an aside, if I start talking about things that you don't understand, please let me know. I teach Physics now, and there are certain things I just assume people know. If you could comment on bits and pieces that confuse you, or you simply weren't taught, it's actually going to help me outside of the pod, and help me deliver better lessons to students.

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