Space Videos filmed this event with Mia Bovill from the Space Telescope Science Institut.

“Mapping the United Federation of Planets: An Astronomer’s Guide to the Galaxy”.


How big is Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets? How far did the various starship captains travel? Where exactly are the Klingons?

To answer these questions, we need to leave the future spacefaring of the Enterprise behind and ask questions of astronomers in the here and now of 21st century Earth. Where is the Earth located within our Milky Way? What are the overall shape and scale of the galaxy? And just how can we decipher the Milky Way’s features when we are stuck at one location inside it?

Come for the Star Trek, and stay to hear the centuries-long, ongoing, and arduous tale of how a “minor bipedal species” is mapping the Milky Way.

Below – Two maps of the galaxy in the Star Trek universe.