In U.C, how close can a space ship goes before it is detected?

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False Prophet
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In U.C, how close can a space ship goes before it is detected?

Post by False Prophet » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:38 am

Sure, Minovsky particles makes long range detection unreliable at best, but what about visual detection? I did read that if the USS Enterprise were to fly over Mars, the Hubbles could even discern the marking on the hull.

I know that it is not a good comparision, but still, space combat in U.C looks too close for my comfort? Is it because missiles and beam weapons on space ships could only fire that far? And in the case of MS Carriers like the Pegasus, the limited fuel capacity of MS forces these ships to get close and deliver the machines?

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Re: In U.C, how close can a space ship goes before it is detected?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:22 am

False Prophet wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:38 am
Sure, Minovsky particles makes long range detection unreliable at best, but what about visual detection? I did read that if the USS Enterprise were to fly over Mars, the Hubbles could even discern the marking on the hull.

I know that it is not a good comparision, but still, space combat in U.C looks too close for my comfort? Is it because missiles and beam weapons on space ships could only fire that far? And in the case of MS Carriers like the Pegasus, the limited fuel capacity of MS forces these ships to get close and deliver the machines?
At combat density, Minovsky particles fog even optical wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum... which would make detection at long range more difficult. Plus near-colonial space isn't exactly a neat and tidy void either... there's a lot of junk floating around there, and more with each successive battle or war adding more debris to existing wreckage fields and asteroid mining operations.

Combat ranges in the Universal Century are dictated chiefly by the limitations that Minovsky particles impose upon a ship's ability to reliably target enemy ships, and secondarily by the effective ranges of a ship-mounted mega particle cannon battery. (It's highly probable that the Minovsky particle density of the battlefield limits effective ranges as well, since the natural i-fields would start breaking up the plasma in the beam shot.) The first episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: MS IGLOO: the Hidden One Year War "The Serpent that Vanished at Loum" establishes that under typical combat conditions a cannon with an effective range of 300km would still significantly out-range any ship-mounted mega-particle weapon. (The cannon in question was the ship-sized QCX-76A Jormungand, which had a projected maximum range of ~1,800km but an effective shooting range of just 300km due to Minovsky particle interference. Even at 300km the cannon was unable to effectively track and hit targets due to Minovsky particle interference without forward observers relaying targeting data. The gun's one and only kill was against a ship that was actively closing on well inside the 300km limit.)
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Re: In U.C, how close can a space ship goes before it is detected?

Post by krullnar » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:55 am

While a doubt Gundam or any mecha series for that matter really cares about relativistic effects of space combat. I mean if not for the macguffin that is Minovsky particles missiles using heat detection would be the optimal weapon of space combat. Furthermore F*** visual go thermal it is literally impossible to hide heat in space. With a decent thermal sensor you could track, target, and deploy your missiles long before they could get close enough to use partical weapons, ms, or any other weapon. So your ideal combat range would be more dependent on say what your missiles are capable of and not your ability to see the enemy. Mind you this is more like fire and hope the enemy is where you expect them to be at these ranges were talking hours if not longer waiting for your salvo to hit.

More on the OP so yeah with a decent thermal sensor you can't really sneak up on an enemy ship, because theoretically they would be able to track your every move.
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Re: In U.C, how close can a space ship goes before it is detected?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:39 am

krullnar wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:55 am
Furthermore F*** visual go thermal it is literally impossible to hide heat in space.
But it's childishly easy to mask it... just come toward the enemy with the sun at your back and you're effectively freaking invisible to an infrared scope.
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Re: In U.C, how close can a space ship goes before it is detected?

Post by krullnar » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:02 pm

True but combined with other methods I'd say it's far more reliable than just visual. That said during the heat of battle that be a bit more difficult. But you are right it is possible to mask.
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Re: In U.C, how close can a space ship goes before it is detected?

Post by MythSearcher » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:14 pm

False Prophet wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:38 am
Sure, Minovsky particles makes long range detection unreliable at best, but what about visual detection? I did read that if the USS Enterprise were to fly over Mars, the Hubbles could even discern the marking on the hull.
No.
We have the technology to pick up infrared(heat) signals from Mars, but not markings on the hull of USS Enterprise.

Easy comparison, the Hubble cannot take pictures of the moon landers on the Moon to shut the conspiracy theorist up.(Ok, I must admit even if it can, they will still do what they do best, ignore evidence) And Mars is much much further away.

The resolution of anything on Earth cannot see anything on the moon at the level of metres, so don't have your hopes up for things at the distance of Mars.
I know that it is not a good comparision, but still, space combat in U.C looks too close for my comfort? Is it because missiles and beam weapons on space ships could only fire that far? And in the case of MS Carriers like the Pegasus, the limited fuel capacity of MS forces these ships to get close and deliver the machines?
An unaided eye can see about 1 arc min(1/60°), which roughly translates to 500m for a human with roughly the width of 55cm(In this case, you see a thin line and not really a human figure). So an MS, which is roughly 10 times the size of a human, will give you a distance of 5000m, or 5km. This is for a full visual view detection(not zoomed in) without auto resizing of targets. (What seems to be the case in OYW, in Zeta, the GUI seems to evolved a bit and will auto zoom in common battlefield items like MS and warships)
Of course you can zoom in before you search for the enemy, but at the same time you needed more time to search the full field.

If you look at the right direction though, it would be much more easy to spot a target, but since infrared signals are diffracted greatly(With Minovsky Particles scattered), you won't be able to see the hint from very far away. You will see a big infrared blob from a certain distance, but any further the signal will become too weak. At combat density, visual light is also fogged like Seta Kaiba said, which further makes it harder to see things.

So the 4-8km detection range of MS in OYW are pretty realistic considering that is the full field detection at a certain M particle density.
krullnar wrote:
Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:55 am
While a doubt Gundam or any mecha series for that matter really cares about relativistic effects of space combat. I mean if not for the macguffin that is Minovsky particles missiles using heat detection would be the optimal weapon of space combat. Furthermore F*** visual go thermal it is literally impossible to hide heat in space. With a decent thermal sensor you could track, target, and deploy your missiles long before they could get close enough to use partical weapons, ms, or any other weapon. So your ideal combat range would be more dependent on say what your missiles are capable of and not your ability to see the enemy. Mind you this is more like fire and hope the enemy is where you expect them to be at these ranges were talking hours if not longer waiting for your salvo to hit.

More on the OP so yeah with a decent thermal sensor you can't really sneak up on an enemy ship, because theoretically they would be able to track your every move.
Minovsky Particles helps mask heat signals, all the "There Ain't No Stealth In Space" said in Atomic Rockets isn't really possible when you have extra particles which are giving out random heat signals and diffract other heat signals randomly. You will be able to see random blobs of hotter than background space area that will be like hundreds of km across(M Particles scatters out to 100km pretty fast after dispersal by the Tau force it carries but slows down because of its EM force when reaching that distance, once above 100km, it starts to accelerate exponentially to sub light speeds)
So you really can't do much trying to analyze the thrust exhaust heat signals under those conditions.
Sadly, Atomic Rockets deals with real world situations, not worlds with magic dust.
Also, even if you can't be stealthy stealthy, you can always create enough fake signals to throw off your enemy, which is also a type of stealth in military. Laser heating up a black piece of cloth or a rock in space is a pretty nice start(current military technology), tethered network of units giving off weird thrust signals is another(also laser propulsion or mass driver between themselves for momentum transfer). BTW, I have stargazing friends who question Ken Burnside's analysis about scanning the entire sky, his analysis didn't seem to take into account focusing, which may not be necessary if you focus at infinity but then you might not get closer signals)
You also happened to have hundreds of colonies pretty near almost any battle field we have in Gundam, which all gives off a pretty nice background infrared area to mask other signals.
Directing heat to above Earth sphere is also a good way to stay stealthy in UC, Earth sphere is too close to the Sun for drones to stay cool, so you can always detect pre-launched drones that are sitting there orbiting Earth, so they know which directions to sent their excess heat signals if they needed to do so. It is not a war between Earth and Mars, coasting takes less than 2 days between L points and Earth with Saturn V class propulsion technology with Hohmann transfer orbits.

In UC, most battles are fought in L Points, all having hundreds of colonies(or at least dead ones) and many debris floating here and there all gaining heat from the Sun.

On the rare case, we do have an at least 100,000 km detection and battle in Sentinel, where they sent off long range MS to shoot at each other, where the novel described Pegasus III(Argama class) seeing a few black dots where launched from the enemy ship. This is a case where both side didn't use M Particles and can see each other very far apart.(but both still has background heat signals to mask themselves)

Gundam is too primitive compared to what Atomic Rockets was talking about, they are talking about at least interplanetary war, but Gundam is mostly still stuck in the Earth sphere, and that falls outside a lot of assumptions they make.(Actually, Atomic Rocket's "no stealth" assumption is that the enemy has many detectors aiming at you location in all directions, which is a paradox, if they enemy already know where you are, no stealth is possible, while space is so huge so that looking at all locations in all directions is impossible)

If you want to read a story that is more realistic in detection in space, I'd suggest Miniskirt Space Pirates light novel(NOT the anime), their detection range is in millions of km, with light speed delay (FTL detectors do exist but rarely used because they are active) And the author still came up with ways to maintain stealthy that makes Physical sense(like wasting coolant in disrupting and cooling the exhaust plume in order to shorten the detection range, much higher technology civilization masking the ship's signal against only one single target, hacking the enemy's sensors by actively sending in signals from thousands of drones pre-dispatched to the star system, etc.)

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