#1 Edited by comicace3 (4680 posts) - - Show Bio

We all know there are many superheroes that run or fly faster than the speed of light ( flash, superman, thor) but does that mean they are able to see where they are going? When we see color it is because the colors of the spectrum ( red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo and violet or roy g biv for short) are being absorbed and one of the colors are being reflected. Light is all of the colors being reflected and none being absorbed. Darkness is the absence of color and complete absorption of light. Does that mean those superhero's who are faster than light are completely blind and don't know where they are going? Or do they have a hidden superpower that allows them to see even though there is complete darkness?

#2 Posted by lightsout (1827 posts) - - Show Bio

The Flashes have the SF to explain that away (extra dimensional energy beyond our understanding is able to "capture" the light and send their brain all the signals). Everyone else....pretty much no good explanation. They shouldn't be able to see (maybe some sort of "feeling" of energies around them so they would know if they were going to hit a planet in space or something like that).

#3 Edited by evilvegeta74 (4527 posts) - - Show Bio

Good question

#4 Posted by comicace3 (4680 posts) - - Show Bio

Bump

#5 Posted by Battle_Forum_Junkie (7825 posts) - - Show Bio

Good question.

My brother has brought this up on several occasions. Being technical about superhero stuff is his hobby. :P It makes sense that he would need some sort of precog in order to avoid stuff like buildings, street lamps, pedestrians, etc.

#6 Posted by lightsout (1827 posts) - - Show Bio

Good question.

My brother has brought this up on several occasions. Being technical about superhero stuff is his hobby. :P It makes sense that he would need some sort of precog in order to avoid stuff like buildings, street lamps, pedestrians, etc.

I've always figured Superman has to have some sort of precog-esque ability. If only because of the feats his "super hearing" pulls off. Sure it's fiction/fantasy, but it's well known sound is fairly slow on the relative scale. If he was in Gotham & heard danger in Metropolis, the time it would take the sound wave to reach him, people might be dead already even if he traveled FTL when he received it (not to mention hearing stuff from out in orbit, or the fact that sound waves would get broken up or even canceled out. He could have a magic machine that detects all sound perfectly & it wouldn't matter since sound (through air) is a crappy way of sending signals).

#7 Edited by IamGog (296 posts) - - Show Bio

Actually it depends on acceleration, and there Brain.The super speed increases brain function, and increases the the speed of the neurons. Meaning they are able to see.due to increase brain activity.

#8 Posted by dum529001 (1624 posts) - - Show Bio

@comicace3:

Its because the processesing power of their nervous system, like everything else about them, is on a level far greater than an ordinary human.

This extends to their great optical and auditory senses.

Animals and humans, although to a lesser extent with humans, can also detect electromagnetic fields. With super-powered beings, this trait is greatly increased as well.

#9 Edited by comicace3 (4680 posts) - - Show Bio

These are very good answers...

#10 Posted by FiMFTW (687 posts) - - Show Bio

@iamgog said:

Meaning they are able to see.due to increase brain activity.

Makes absolutely no sense at all.

You can't see if the light reflecting off of objects never meets your eyes, it doesn't matter how fast your brain is.

#11 Edited by comicace3 (4680 posts) - - Show Bio

@fimftw said:

@iamgog said:

Meaning they are able to see.due to increase brain activity.

Makes absolutely no sense at all.

You can't see if the light reflecting off of objects never meets your eyes, it doesn't matter how fast your brain is.

So how do you suppose they see?

#12 Edited by lightsout (1827 posts) - - Show Bio

@comicace3: Aside from some sort of precognitive ability or sensing planets & such in a way the DBZ guys "sense" Ki -- they really shouldn't be able to. Sort of a dead-end in terms of comic-science. You just have to accept Superman can travel FTL through space in a way other than blindly launching himself and hoping he stops in time.

#13 Posted by MandoViking (347 posts) - - Show Bio

Good question.

My brother has brought this up on several occasions. Being technical about superhero stuff is his hobby. :P It makes sense that he would need some sort of precog in order to avoid stuff like buildings, street lamps, pedestrians, etc.

Yup, that's me. as well as probably not being able to see, I do not think they would be able to hear and they would have to be extremely durable to withstand the g-forces. Also, would they even be able to breath?

#14 Edited by Battle_Forum_Junkie (7825 posts) - - Show Bio
#15 Edited by Malevolent1 (1072 posts) - - Show Bio

We all know there are many superheroes that run or fly faster than the speed of light ( flash, superman, thor) but does that mean they are able to see where they are going? When we see color it is because the colors of the spectrum ( red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo and violet or roy g biv for short) are being absorbed and one of the colors are being reflected. Light is all of the colors being reflected and none being absorbed. Darkness is the absence of color and complete absorption of light. Does that mean those superhero's who are faster than light are completely blind and don't know where they are going? Or do they have a hidden superpower that allows them to see even though there is complete darkness?

Outstanding question. First, scientists can only theorize about what would happen if we could travel faster than light speed. I find myself throwing around terms like "wormhole", "hyperspace" and "time dilation" as if they are scientifically established facts. Faster than light travel presents a number of difficulties, as you already mentioned above. How does a character even perceive what is in front of him he is travelling faster than light? When characters were initially introduced into comics that were faster than light, ofttimes, faster than light travel was associated with time travel/dimension travel. However, as the characters evolved over the decades, feats of moving faster than light without any reference to time travel became more common. Time travels feats seemed to be the next speed up from light travel.

Regarding the Silver Surfer, and explanation is given in SSAnnual02/Norrin is also capable of seeing tremendous distances ahead of himself (from Infinity Gauntlet)/his vision even allows him to see the "trail" left by a teleporter:

Below, Norrin is even able to perceive his surrounding while travelling fast enough to move through time:

Buscema illustrates the "weirdness" of time travel as evidenced by the background, yet Norrin is able to perceive his surroundings in real time at speeds that beggar description
#16 Edited by Malevolent1 (1072 posts) - - Show Bio

We all know there are many superheroes that run or fly faster than the speed of light ( flash, superman, thor) but does that mean they are able to see where they are going? When we see color it is because the colors of the spectrum ( red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo and violet or roy g biv for short) are being absorbed and one of the colors are being reflected. Light is all of the colors being reflected and none being absorbed. Darkness is the absence of color and complete absorption of light. Does that mean those superhero's who are faster than light are completely blind and don't know where they are going? Or do they have a hidden superpower that allows them to see even though there is complete darkness?

Regarding Wally West, the speed force is the source of his speed and all of the abilities related to it. Below are assorted scans indicative of the source of his ability to perceive the world around him at insane speeds. Initially, light speed and time travel are closely related to one another. As the character grows in power, over the top light speed feats are routine. Finally, travelling outside known space time ranks at the top of the character's speed feats. Presumably, the speed force allows Wally West to perceive the world around him at such speeds.

Above, Wally, augmented by three other speedsters, perceives the world around him in hyper time
Above, Wally and Zen master of the speed, Max Mercury, discuss the source of Wally's power right around the time the character regularly travels beyond light (Flash 101)
Above, initially, travelling beyond light, the speed force, and time travel seemed much closer together (Flash 109)
Above, Wally performs the impossible, scanning a half million people and making sure the culprits get their just desserts
Above, the speed force allows Wally's vision to adjust to perceive impossible speeds
Above, Flash travels so fast he leaves known space time, where death ceases to exist on even a conceptual level

#17 Posted by IamGog (296 posts) - - Show Bio

@fimftw: Can you actually start to see well, even you run a lot.No, you start to have blurry vision.A increased brain, helps to remove the problem. Another problem will be vertigo.Dizziness,vomiting, ad so forth.

#18 Posted by IamGog (296 posts) - - Show Bio

@comicace3: If you started running, you get tired. Your eyesight gets blurry, and you experience dizziness, and vomiting. With a increased brain you avoid theses problems, example flash,and superman.Both there brains process information much faster,and avoid these problems.

#19 Posted by FiMFTW (687 posts) - - Show Bio

@iamgog said:

@fimftw: Can you actually start to see well, even you run a lot.No, you start to have blurry vision.A increased brain, helps to remove the problem. Another problem will be vertigo.Dizziness,vomiting, ad so forth.

You either skipped Physics class, or you're misinterpreting the question.

You see by your eyes absorbing the light patterns being reflected off of objects, this light only travels at the speed of light (Go figure) if you yourself are traveling at this speed the light will never reach your eyes.

Now, I repeat the question; How does a faster brain solve this problem? It has nothing to do with the brain, it has to do with the eyes not absorbing any information.

#20 Posted by lightsout (1827 posts) - - Show Bio

@iamgog: The OP wasn't asking about speed in general though, it was about FTL speed and the issue of receiving light into your eyes when you're going faster than it. The Flashes have the Speed Force to explain away this issue, but the others don't. (Well, maybe GLs can explain it away by saying their aura take it in and transfers it to them, since it's able to produce oxygen too (....somehow, lol)).

#21 Posted by xybernauts (858 posts) - - Show Bio

One explanation you could use to explain there ability perceive where they are going when they travel at FTL speeds is to compare there abilities to that of starships. If you do that then you might assume that they calculate their flight path in advance before they actually accelerate to FTL speeds. In the specific case of the Flash, he can phase through any unforseen obstructions that move in front of his path.

The problem with the OPS question is that i don't really think Thor, Superman, or even the Flash travels at FTL speeds on a regular basis. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Usually from what I've read Superman may travel at mach speeds, not FTL speeds.

Thor typically uses wormholes using the rainbow bridge. Perhaps you're talking about when he travels through space? Well then you could say Thor uses the transcendent properties of his "magic" hammer.

And Flash, the only character who can travel at FTL speeds doesn't do this on a regular basis. Basically for the Flash and other speedforce using characters, DC uses the supernatural properties of the speedforce to explain all of Flash's abilities.

@iamgog said:

Actually it depends on acceleration, and there Brain.The super speed increases brain function, and increases the the speed of the neurons. Meaning they are able to see.due to increase brain activity.

This only applies to sub-FTL speeds.

#22 Posted by lightsout (1827 posts) - - Show Bio

One explanation you could use to explain there ability perceive where they are going when they travel at FTL speeds is to compare there abilities to that of starships. If you do that then you might assume that they calculate their flight path in advance before they actually accelerate to FTL speeds. In the specific case of the Flash, he can phase through any unforseen obstructions that move in front of his path.

I hadn't even thought about this. This could actually apply to all FTL travel. I'm a little too lazy to look it up ( :D ), but I read part of this book about "the science of super heroes" and in a chapter talking about Kitty & Flash phasing through solid objects, they said that when at/near light-speed, the quantum probabilities that the actual matter of all your atoms would be lined up to pass through the empty space in another solid object would be near-100%, so simply by running at light/FTL speeds at an object, Flash would pass through it ("vibrating" through was just comic-talk invented by writers). So in theory Superman could fly FTL through space and just pass through planets or any other object. How he knows when to stop, is another question all together. But at least we have "avoiding obstacles" out of the way.

#23 Edited by comicace3 (4680 posts) - - Show Bio

@lightsout said:

@xybernauts said:

One explanation you could use to explain there ability perceive where they are going when they travel at FTL speeds is to compare there abilities to that of starships. If you do that then you might assume that they calculate their flight path in advance before they actually accelerate to FTL speeds. In the specific case of the Flash, he can phase through any unforseen obstructions that move in front of his path.

I hadn't even thought about this. This could actually apply to all FTL travel. I'm a little too lazy to look it up ( :D ), but I read part of this book about "the science of super heroes" and in a chapter talking about Kitty & Flash phasing through solid objects, they said that when at/near light-speed, the quantum probabilities that the actual matter of all your atoms would be lined up to pass through the empty space in another solid object would be near-100%, so simply by running at light/FTL speeds at an object, Flash would pass through it ("vibrating" through was just comic-talk invented by writers). So in theory Superman could fly FTL through space and just pass through planets or any other object. How he knows when to stop, is another question all together. But at least we have "avoiding obstacles" out of the way.

It's is actually a good thing he pointed that out. But my follow up question would be how does flash save people. I remember a scan where he saved a lot of people from a nuclear bomb in pico seconds (ftl speeds). And would that have to do with seeing who you're saving?

#24 Edited by lightsout (1827 posts) - - Show Bio

It's is actually a good thing he pointed that out. But my follow up question would be how does flash save people. I remember a scan where he saved a lot of people from a nuclear bomb in pico seconds (ftl speeds). And would that have to do with seeing who you're saving?

I'm pretty sure it's been said that the Speed Force takes care of any physics-issues with hyper-fast motion. How exactly it does "catch" light (/images) and send them to his brain? -- I don't know, but it does (as an extra-dimensional energy that our current knowledge can't explain or comprehend). I don't think you can know. The SF is like the one freebie you give the comic-science. (Like with Superman, if we give him "physiology where yellow sun gives super-abilities", we figure out how things would work scientifically after that).

#25 Posted by Fallen_Crippled (6451 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman and Catwoman both are capable of knowing where they are going when they are going lightspeed. I think its because Batman has fancy contacts. Catwoman's cat senses are capable of determining it. It's all explained in the Halle Berry movie Catwoman.

#26 Posted by XLR87T3 (2690 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman and Catwoman both are capable of knowing where they are going when they are going lightspeed. I think its because Batman has fancy contacts. Catwoman's cat senses are capable of determining it. It's all explained in the Halle Berry movie Catwoman.

Lol!

#27 Posted by Dayvid3 (807 posts) - - Show Bio

I think superspeed might be a curse. You're brain would have to process at superspeeds when you moving at that pace. It seems like it would make normal pace seem excruciatingly slow. Like waiting on line at the supermarket x1000. Interaction with people would be painful at best. I'd rather have spidey's agility and spider sense to deal with fast things, than a power that could very well make u crazy

#28 Posted by xybernauts (858 posts) - - Show Bio

@lightsout said:

@xybernauts said:

One explanation you could use to explain there ability perceive where they are going when they travel at FTL speeds is to compare there abilities to that of starships. If you do that then you might assume that they calculate their flight path in advance before they actually accelerate to FTL speeds. In the specific case of the Flash, he can phase through any unforseen obstructions that move in front of his path.

I hadn't even thought about this. This could actually apply to all FTL travel. I'm a little too lazy to look it up ( :D ), but I read part of this book about "the science of super heroes" and in a chapter talking about Kitty & Flash phasing through solid objects, they said that when at/near light-speed, the quantum probabilities that the actual matter of all your atoms would be lined up to pass through the empty space in another solid object would be near-100%, so simply by running at light/FTL speeds at an object, Flash would pass through it ("vibrating" through was just comic-talk invented by writers). So in theory Superman could fly FTL through space and just pass through planets or any other object. How he knows when to stop, is another question all together. But at least we have "avoiding obstacles" out of the way.

It's is actually a good thing he pointed that out. But my follow up question would be how does flash save people. I remember a scan where he saved a lot of people from a nuclear bomb in pico seconds (ftl speeds). And would that have to do with seeing who you're saving?

Maybe we are looking at it from the wrong perspective. While he'd look like he was moving really fast to us, to him we'd look like we were moving really slow. The best example I could come up with was from an episode of Batman TAS featuring the Clock King. I think the episode was called "Time out of Joint". While Clock King doesn't have superspeed in these videos I think that the abilities he uses might be similar to that of other FTL superheroes.

Also, in regards to there ability to see. Another possibility is that they use tachyons or some other FTL particle to some how sense. Tachyons are particles that move faster then light.