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T'Pol using viewer

A scope being used aboard a Starfleet NX-class spacecraft in 2151

"I remember seeing one of these in a photograph."
"Kirk's ship had them, I think."

A scope was an optical instrument and type of viewer occasionally incorporated into a spacecraft's bridge, usually utilized to scan outside the craft. The device was mainly used by various spacefaring organizations in the 22nd and 23rd centuries.

Additionally, 20th century RADAR screens were also sometimes referred to as scopes.

TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday" is the only episode in which a RADAR screen is called a "scope". For information about the similarity between real RADAR and the scopes seen on Star Trek, see the Background information section.

NX-class scope[]


In "Broken Bow", the first episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, two different styles of scope can be seen – one design is used in close-up shots, while another can be seen in several other, more distant shots and was used for every appearance of the scope in subsequent episodes of Enterprise. There is no explanation for the alterations between the designs in "Broken Bow", however, and the changes consequently create a continuity error that is avoided in this section by assuming that the design seen in close-up shots preceded the scope's other style.

NX class scope

An early style of scope aboard an NX-class spacecraft in April 2151

By April 2151, an early scope had been designed and adopted by Starfleet for science station use on NX-class starships. This style of scope had two halves whose exteriors were separated by a thin metallic silver divider. The exterior of the top half contained a brown eyepiece, through which the user directly looked, and an outer metallic silver grip. The lower half had a black outer casing and, while the device was not in use, was lowered into a hidden recess below the level of the surrounding console. When pressed, a control on the console, slightly to the left of the scope, raised the device's lower half out of its recess, extending the scope to its full and operational height. Simultaneously, a yellow light would activate from within the scope, enabling visibility of its contents from the other side of the eyepiece. The scope was not entirely silent, as it produced a faint noise when being activated or deactivated. (ENT: "Broken Bow")


An improved version of the NX-class scope, with an altered eyepiece and a newly-introduced divider

Between April and May 2151, the eyepiece was enlarged in depth, its diameter was reduced, and a ribbed effect was added to the outer sides of the component. The eyepiece was also darkened in color so that it matched with the black of the lower half. A metallic silver component, much like the section dividing the two halves of the device, was introduced near the top of the scope's exterior, separating the eyepiece from the device's lower sections. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Fight or Flight")

After "Broken Bow", most episodes show the scope being held at or near the top of the device's higher half, as opposed to the method seen in "Broken Bow" – with both hands holding the device amid the top half. Also, the exterior of the eyepiece is often demonstrated being used as a place where the user can position one or several of their first fingers, such as their thumbs.

Viewer with buttoned top

A scope with a buttoned control surface, being used by Vulcan science officer T'Pol in 2151

Additionally, sometime between May and July of the same year, several square controls were added to the top of the scope, arranged in two generally straight clusters along either edge of the device's top half. (ENT: "Unexpected", "Civilization") Each cluster included four adjacent black controls, each of which were positioned lower than and, from the user's perspective, behind a similar white control. Next to each row of black and white controls, three light grey buttons were aligned in a slightly differing arrangement from each other – on the right, comparative to the user, the grey buttons were situated next to the white control, as well as by the second and third lower black controls, while the grey buttons on the left were beside the first, third and fourth black controls. (ENT: "Civilization")

In August of that year, the scope's lower half was slightly increased in length, effectively making the top section higher when the device was operational. (ENT: "Fortunate Son", "Silent Enemy")

The scope is lower in "Fortunate Son" and earlier episodes than in both "Cold Front" and "Silent Enemy", as well as subsequent episodes. Although the device was heightened for production on "Cold Front", "Silent Enemy" is established as being set before that episode (for more information, see 2151).

Between July 2151 and October 2152, the grey controls atop the scope were colored a darker grey that was more similar to the shade of the top half's outer grip. (ENT: "Dawn")

In February 2154, the color of the light within the scope was altered from yellow to pale blue. (ENT: "", "Zero Hour")

Jonathan Archer looks in scope

With T'Pol at his side, Captain Jonathan Archer uses her viewer in 2152

These styles of science station viewer were successively implemented aboard the NX-class starship Enterprise, on which the device was used during the starship's mission from 2151 until 2161, most frequently by science officer T'Pol. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "These Are the Voyages...") Other officers, including Captain Jonathan Archer and Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker, also occasionally used the instrument, however. (ENT: "Dawn", "Zero Hour")

The latter style scope was also used aboard Enterprise of an alternate timeline until 2165, when the starship's bridge and, shortly after, the entire ship itself were destroyed in a battle with several Xindi vessels. (ENT: "Twilight") Other NX-class ships using the latter style scope include the ISS Enterprise (NX-01) and the ISS Avenger of the mirror universe, until they were both individually destroyed in 2155, as well as Columbia NX-02, aboard which a scope was installed several months before the ship's launch. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly", "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", "Home")

Of these examples, only the scope aboard Enterprise, both that of most episodes and of the alternate timeline seen in "Twilight", is shown being used.

Deanna Troi with scope

In 2370, Commander Deanna Troi examines the holographic re-creation of a scope from 2161

Although these styles of viewer had become antiquated by 2370, one could still be found in a holoprogram depicting Enterprise's final voyage to Earth by way of Rigel X, a simulation set in 2161. Despite the holographic nature of the program's environment, the scope was interactive, allowing a user to automate the device at will. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")

History of an NX-class scope[]


When, in April 2151, the NX-class Enterprise unexpectedly started trembling after having entered the atmosphere of a gas giant, T'Pol used her scope to ascertain that the shaking was due to the ship having penetrated a layer of liquid phosphorus. Soon after, when the ship's crew was tasked with recovering Captain Archer and Commander Tucker, T'Pol used her scope to locate the ignited thruster exhaust of a Suliban cell ship that Archer and Tucker had commandeered, and to obtain coordinates where Enterprise could rendezvous with the Suliban craft. (ENT: "Broken Bow")

Tactical scan in viewer

A long range tactical scan, as seen through T'Pol's viewer

The next month, T'Pol used her scope to see a long range tactical scan, showing Enterprise's position and that of an Axanar cargo ship that had been manned by an Axanar crew which was now entirely deceased. After Enterprise approached the ship and received no response to hails, T'Pol looked through her scope's eyepiece to help the senior officers determine whether holes surrounding a hatch on the vessel were venting ports or hull breaches. By using her scope, she learned that residue near the holes indicated the possibility that weapons had been fired at the alien craft. (ENT: "Fight or Flight")

T'Pol also used her scope to determine that an unnamed planet, later called Archer IV, had an atmosphere largely consisting of oxygen and nitrogen, confirming that a Human away team from Enterprise would be able to breathe easily on the planet's surface. (ENT: "Strange New World")

The planet is named Archer IV in Captain Archer's biography, seen in the ENT Season 4 episode "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II".

Viewer with bare top

T'Pol using her latter-style scope

While Enterprise was plagued with malfunctions, T'Pol's scope helped the crew discover that the problems were due to a disruption in the plasma flow being caused by the presence of a vessel hidden aft of the starship's warp nacelles. When a male member of the vessel's Xyrillian crew later explained that his craft's engines were damaged, T'Pol used her scope to ascertain that the vessel's warp reactor was off-line, supporting the crew member's claim. (ENT: "Unexpected")

While attempting to locate a group of missing Human colonists who had settled on the planet Terra Nova, T'Pol used her scope to learn that, although the colony seemed intact, Enterprise was not detecting any bio-signs from the planet. (ENT: "Terra Nova")

T'Pol later used her scope to measure a comet, one previously undiscovered by Vulcans and Humans, as having a diameter of 82.6 kilometers, bigger than any comet Humans had ever seen. (ENT: "Breaking the Ice")

When Enterprise encountered a populated planet, T'Pol's scope determined that the inhabitants of the planet, the Akaali, were a pre-industrial society. However, T'Pol later detected neutrino emissions from a city on the planet. Her scope was deactivated when she reported this finding to Captain Archer and speculated that they could be due to an antimatter reactor, suggesting that technologically advanced visitors had found the planet before Enterprise's crew. In an attempt to determine whether her theory was accurate, T'Pol used her scope to scan the planet's surface for non-indigenous bio-signs. Although the device did not detect any, T'Pol was uncertain of the reliability of its results, due to Enterprise's range from the planet; she did indeed turn out to be correct, though, with the planet being secretly mined by a species called the Malurians. (ENT: "Civilization")

While approaching the Earth Cargo Service freighter ECS Fortunate, T'Pol's scope distinguished that there were twenty-four bio-signs aboard the craft. Enterprise later left the Fortunate but, upon returning to the freighter, T'Pol reported that long-range sensors, which she observed through her scope, were detecting weapons fireEnterprise's first indication that the freighter was being attacked by Nausicaan ships. (ENT: "Fortunate Son")

In late August of the same year, Enterprise, having previously established the subspace amplifier Echo 1, deployed Echo 2 and had several encounters with a mysterious, hostile alien ship. Upon encountering the ship for the third time, T'Pol used her scope to determine that the vessel was dead astern. Shortly thereafter, T'Pol's scope determined that both Echo 1 and Echo 2 had been destroyed. (ENT: "Silent Enemy")

In early September, T'Pol peered through her scope's eyepiece, occasionally using the instruments on the panel right of the scope, while Enterprise was being escorted by a transport ship around the edges of the Great Plume of Agosoria. (ENT: "Cold Front")

When Enterprise encountered an alien craft of pre-warp design, T'Pol used her scope to learn that there were two very faint bio-signs aboard the vessel. The occupants of the ship were actually two unconscious Valakians, members of a civilization afflicted by plague. (ENT: "Dear Doctor")

Long Viewer (Sleeping Dogs)

T'Pol using her scope, now upgraded with a longer support beam, to track a probe entering the atmosphere of a gas giant

After Enterprise discovered a gas giant, T'Pol tracked a probe launched from the starship, by using her scope and the controls at the top of the device, as the probe entered the planet's outer atmosphere. Soon after, T'Pol also learned from her scope, again using the controls atop the device, that there was, in the planet's lower atmosphere, the anomalous power signature of a starship, with several bio-signs aboard. The ship was later determined to be of a Klingon design that Enterprise had not previously encountered (namely, the Raptor-class), explaining the anomalous nature of its power signature, as seen through T'Pol's scope. (ENT: "Sleeping Dogs")

While Commander Tucker and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed were stranded in a shuttlepod in November 2151, Tucker remarked that the pod would probably only appear to Enterprise, being two days away at warp three, as "a nice little blip on T'Pol's viewer." As a method to alert Enterprise's crew to the shuttlepod and influence them to increase the starship's speed, Reed suggested firing the pod's weapons. Commander Tucker, however, argued that the shuttlepod's plasma cannons had a range of less than ten kilometers – less than what was needed to make both the weapons and the shuttlecraft appear as more than a single "blip" on T'Pol's scope. Ultimately, Tucker and Reed decided to ignite their shuttlepod's engine, an explosion detected by Enterprise, and both officers were subsequently rescued by the starship. (ENT: "Shuttlepod One")

While Enterprise initially encountered the Vahklas-type Vahklas, T'Pol was able to see through her scope that the ship, occupied by Vulcan V'tosh ka'tur, belonged to a class of vessel that had not been used for a long time. (ENT: "Fusion")

Enterprise later investigated the planet Kantare, the site of a crashed ship that the Starfleet crew had been informed was possibly haunted. Upon entering orbit of the planet, T'Pol used her scope to confirm that Kantare's atmosphere was thin but breathable. (ENT: "Oasis")


In April 2152, Enterprise ventured into a planetary system that neither Vulcans nor Humans had previously charted. After the ship approached an uninhabited planet in the system (a world that was volcanic but class M), T'Pol deactivated her scope and pressed several controls on the panel to the right of the viewer, moments before Enterprise disastrously struck a cloaked Romulan mine. (ENT: "Minefield")

In need of repairs due to damage caused by the mine, Enterprise headed to an alien space station that T'Pol scanned with her scope, determining that the station's interior had a liquid helium atmosphere. (ENT: "Dead Stop")

After discovering a trinary star system that included a black hole, T'Pol began to study the phenomena with her scope, using the controls to the right of the device, but she was interrupted from her work. T'Pol later used the device to navigate a safe course through a debris field and away from the black hole. (ENT: "Singularity")

While Enterprise pursued a Retellian freighter, the alien vessel released a cloud of debris that covered Enterprise's viewscreen. By using her scope and a control panel directly below it, between her and the device, T'Pol was able to identify the debris as dilithium hydroxyls and ionized pyrosulfates. (ENT: "Precious Cargo")

Thermokinetic analysis

A thermo-kinetic analysis, as seen through an NX-class scope

After Commander Tucker went missing in a shuttlepod while in a system consisting of a gas giant and many moons, Enterprise's crew searched for him but they experienced interference while attempting to use their ship's sensors. T'Pol utilized her scope to learn that many of the moons in the system had atmospheres containing selenium isotopes, the factor most likely affecting the ship's sensors. While the search continued, T'Pol later peered through her scope's eyepiece, while using the controls atop the device, to observe a thermo-kinetic analysis of the moons. She showed Captain Archer the same demonstration and explained that she, with the use of her scope, had learned that, although the moons' surfaces were moderately cool at night, they could become extremely hot during the day, reaching temperatures possibly as high as 170 degrees. (ENT: "Dawn")

T'Pol later looked through her scope's eyepiece during Enterprise's first encounter with a Tholian ship. After a craft, one that was supposedly from the future and highly sought after by the Tholians, was armed with a torpedo warhead and dropped through one of Enterprise's launch bay doors, T'Pol used her scope to ascertain that the Tholians had neutralized the warhead. (ENT: "Future Tense")

While Enterprise was trapped inside a vast alien vessel, T'Pol determined, using her scope, that vapor inside the alien craft only contained elements that Enterprise's sensors could identify and that the vessel contained an atmosphere mostly consisting of helium, but with trace amounts of xenon. (ENT: "The Crossing")

During an attack by a Klingon D5-class battle cruiser named the Bortas, Enterprise maneuvered into a particular planet's ring system, where T'Pol utilized her scope to inform the other officers on the bridge that their starship was approaching a large, rocky fragment, 600 meters in diameter. Essentially acting on the information from T'Pol's scope, Captain Archer subsequently issued orders to hide the starship behind the rocky fragment. (ENT: "Judgment")


In January 2153, Enterprise's crew studied an imminently volcanic planet. When the volcanoes on the planet began to erupt, T'Pol used her scope, discovering bio-signs on the planet that appeared to be those of several microbial species that usually resided under the planet's surface but were being unearthed by the volcanic activity. (ENT: "Horizon")

Later the same year, T'Pol was able to analyze a dying hypergiant star with the aid of her scope. She saw, through the device's eyepiece, that the star was losing mass at an extraordinary rate, leading her to conclude that it would go supernova in one or two hundred years. (ENT: "Cogenitor")

T'Pol also looked through her scope's eyepiece while Enterprise was approaching a layer of thermobaric clouds that surrounded the Delphic Expanse. While the starship subsequently journeyed through the cloud layer, T'Pol detected three energy signatures that she was able to examine with her scope. She was only able to differentiate the readings from those of a communications buoy the starship had recently launched because she was detecting three energy signatures (which were actually Klingon Birds-of-Prey), not just one. (ENT: "The Expanse")

Early in the Xindi incident, Enterprise's crew was provided with coordinates to the Xindi homeworld but, while the ship was approaching the coordinates, T'Pol discovered with her scope that there were no planets in the area. The crew ultimately learned that this was because the coordinates were for the previous Xindi homeworld, which had been destroyed. (ENT: "The Xindi")

After Enterprise had a hostile encounter with an Osaarian merchant ship and its piratical crew, T'Pol used her scope to help track the alien craft's ion trail to the edge of a cloaking barrier. On the other side of the barrier, Enterprise's crew first discovered a Delphic Expanse sphere, whose interior T'Pol tried to scan by utilizing her scope. She found that the starship's sensors were being deflected, but the scope later proved useful in locating a portal – twenty-two degrees north from the ship's position – that would allow access to the sphere's interior. After Captain Archer decided to ambush the Osaarian ship in close proximity to the sphere, T'Pol used her scope to determine that the alien craft, as it entered the cloaking barrier, had not yet detected Enterprise. (ENT: "Anomaly (ENT)")

After the Starfleet craft tracked the course of a Xindi-Arboreal starship to a planet that the Xindi vessel had last visited before being destroyed, T'Pol found, with the use of her scope and the controls to the right of the device, that the planet had a prolific ecosystem, including several million chromophyllic plant species. (ENT: "Extinction")

T'Pol using scope, 2153

T'Pol discovering an asteroid field

Enterprise later discovered the Vulcan starship Seleya, inside an asteroid field where T'Pol utilized her scope, and at least one of the controls atop the device, to ascertain that the asteroids were moving in a chaotic fashion on paths that were unpredictable. (ENT: "Impulse")

As the result of a disastrous experiment with Enterprise's warp core, the ship entered an anomaly that T'Pol identified, by using her scope, as a polaric field, approximately 11,000 kilometers in diameter. Even though her scope helped to ascertain the nature of the field, the device was unable to instantly determine the field's composition and T'Pol required substantial time to complete a detailed scan. (ENT: "Similitude")

In December 2153, Enterprise was forced to traverse an exceptionally intense anomaly field. T'Pol prepared for the perilous journey by constructing a changeable map of the area. She viewed the map through her scope's eyepiece, simultaneously using the controls atop the device, to relay directions to Ensign Mayweather at the helm. While using her scope, T'Pol witnessed an anomaly form, expand and merge with other anomalies, a sight which she had never seen before. She became unable to provide the helm with directions from her scope when the anomalies began to grow too rapidly. As they engulfed Enterprise, causing the ship's bridge to violently tremble, T'Pol gripped onto a metallic hand hold above and to the left of her scope and was able to return her gaze to the device's eyepiece. (ENT: "Proving Ground")


While Enterprise was approaching a solar system containing the star Azati Prime in early 2154, T'Pol used her scope to discover that there seemed to be considerable activity around two of the system's inner planets – the first indication of numerous Xindi ships in the area. As Enterprise hid from the ships behind a nearby planetoid, it was decided that Commander Tucker and Ensign Mayweather would fly a previously commandeered Xindi-Insectoid assault shuttle into the system and attempt to locate the Xindi weapon, which was meanwhile almost complete. Shortly after this decision was made, T'Pol began to gaze through her scope, pressing several of the controls on the console right of the device, but she was distracted by Communications Officer Hoshi Sato, trying to study the Xindi-Insectoid language at her own console, and subsequently deactivated her scope. (ENT: "Azati Prime")

While tasked with accessing a one-way subspace corridor that extended from a nebula inhabited by hostile Kovaalans to a distant location not far from the Xindi Council planet, Enterprise encountered a version of itself from an alternate timeline. As the two ships traveled into the nebula, they clustered together in an attempt to fool the Kovaalans into believing the alternate Enterprise was a sensor reflection. Moments before the Kovaalan ships attacked, T'Pol activated her scope and looked through the device's eyepiece, while operating at least one control on the console directly in front of her and several of the controls atop the viewer, to see that Enterprise's sensors were detecting multiple images, confirming that the strategy was working. (ENT: "")

Trip uses scope

Commander Tucker uses Enterprise's scope to monitor the destruction of Sphere 41 while the ship is in an anomaly field

Commander Tucker later used Enterprise's scope, and one of the controls to the right of the device, in order to monitor the destruction of Sphere 41, while the ship was in a trans-dimensional disturbance. (ENT: "Zero Hour")

After Enterprise came across a debris field in November 2154, T'Pol saw through her scope that the wreckage included significant quantities of duranium alloy. This was because the debris was the remainder of an Andorian battle cruiser, the Kumari, which had been destroyed by a Romulan drone ship. (ENT: "Babel One")

Upon encountering another debris field, the result of the drone ship having destroyed the Earth freighter Ticonderoga, T'Pol learned, by using her scope and the controls directly in front of her, that the wreckage consisted of hull fragments, nacelle casings and several Human bodies. When Archer instructed her to search for the drone ship's warp signature, T'Pol again turned her gaze to the scope but momentarily stopped using the device to turn back to the captain. She was later able to utilize the scope to detect a ship that seemed to be a Tellarite freighter as it dropped out of warp nearby. However, the craft was actually the Romulan drone ship, using holographic projectors on its hull to disguise itself – a fact that T'Pol's scope was unable to ascertain. (ENT: "The Aenar")

Constitution-class science scope[]


Spock with earpiece and scope

Spock at his science station, outfitted with a scope (2265)

TPol at Defiant station

T'Pol at the Defiant's science station with a scope

Science scope displays pulsing magnetic flux

A magnetic flux reading on a Constitution-class science scope

In 2254, some starships, including the Constitution-class USS Enterprise, were not equipped with a scope. (TOS: "The Cage")

By 2265, however, a dark blue, featureless scope had been introduced at the science station of most Federation starships. This device jutted out of a console at an elevated angle, camouflaged well into the darkness of the console. Unlike the scopes of the previous century, this style of viewer was stationary and its contents could be seen from a further distance. As direct contact with an eyepiece was not necessary, two people could simultaneously view the device's display. (TOS Season 1)

In 2267, the shaft that comprised the science viewer's exterior was re-colorized to a light grey, consequently becoming more easily recognized within its console. Also, a circular control was added to the device's exterior on the left side of the shaft, comparative to the user's position. (TOS: "Catspaw", et al.)

These styles of viewer were consecutively utilized during the Enterprise's five-year mission by the vessel's science officer, Spock. (Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series)

In 2268, science scopes of the second configuration could also be found aboard the Constitution-class starships USS Lexington and USS Defiant. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer", "The Tholian Web") After the latter craft journeyed to 2155 of the mirror universe, the Defiant was discovered and commandeered by members of the Terran Empire including science officer T'Pol, who subsequently utilized the vessel's science scope. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly", "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II") Additionally, an inoperative duplicate of the Enterprise's scope was integrated into a stationary replica of the starship, constructed on Gideon by that planet's inhabitants in or prior to 2268. (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon")

Although the science scope aboard the replica Enterprise does not appear in "The Mark of Gideon", its existence can be determined when Spock, examining the reproduction of his science station, comments that the surrounding environment is an "exact duplicate of the Enterprise". A copy of every other viewer found on the Enterprise's bridge can be seen in the episode and it is only the scope at the imitation science station that cannot be seen.


In 2266, Spock used his scope to determine that there was no sign of a cube that, until the Enterprise destroyed it, had been blocking the starship's path and endangering the vessel's crew with high levels of radiation.

Spock later used the scope to analyze an object approaching the Enterprise that was larger than the cube but was in the same area of space. Using the scope, Spock reported that the starship was receiving an exceptionally strong signal from the object but that a visual representation of the object was not yet available. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

Later the same year, Captain Kirk activated and used Spock's science viewer during the Enterprise's rescue of Harry Mudd and three female passengers from Stella, a troubled spacecraft that had entered an asteroid field. (TOS: "Mudd's Women")

After Crewman Darnell mysteriously died while accompanying Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy on a visit to Robert and Nancy Crater's home on the planet M-113, Spock peered through his scope to examine the ship's record tapes and, by doing so, identified a plant found in Darnell's mouth as a borgia plant, disproving a possibility that the plant had caused the crewman's death. In a virtually simultaneous capacity, Spock also used the scope to review the history of Robert Crater and his wife, discovering that there was no apparent reason to suspect the couple of involvement in Darnell's death.

As Spock only tells Kirk of his findings regarding the history of the Craters and since it is not established how he came to those determinations, it is not completely certain whether he used his viewer to check the couples' history. However, such a possibility seems likely.

While later monitoring M-113 with his scope, Spock noticed the strange fact that the ship was detecting only one person on the planet, after having been told by Kirk that the planet was inhabited by the two Craters. Spock showed Kirk his viewer's perspective and was able to see through the device that the sole remaining inhabitant of the planet, whom he estimated was most likely Robert Crater, was circling, as if searching for something. Spock operated several controls at the right of the scope to expand the device's search radius. Eventually, he determined that, unless the ship's equipment was at fault, there was only one person within a hundred-mile circle. This was because, as ultimately learned by both Kirk and Spock, "Nancy Crater" was actually a shapeshifting creature that had killed Crewman Darnell and had come aboard the Enterprise, disguised as various crewmembers. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

As the Enterprise orbited Psi 2000, a planet nearing the end of its ancient life, an officer named Joe Tormolen stabbed himself. While investigating the incident, Spock used his scope to study Tormolen's psychiatric file and personality quotients. Spock also showed Kirk the files on Tormolen, displayed within the Enterprise's scope. Spock later used his viewer to monitor the imminent breakup of Psi 2000, as the planet began to condense at an increasing rate. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

Romulan Neutral Zone map, 2266

A map of the Romulan Neutral Zone that was seen on screens throughout the Enterprise, and through Spock's scope

While the Enterprise headed towards the Romulan Neutral Zone in response to a distress call from Outpost 4, Spock looked at a map of the area through his scope and, at Kirk's request, transferred the same map to screens throughout the ship, including the bridge's viewscreen, while continuing to observe the diagram through his scope. Although the map was initially a still image of the appropriate star sector, Spock added a moving, blinking white mark to represent the Enterprise and its position in the area.

After finding that both Outposts 2 and 3 were no longer present and that the asteroids they had been constructed on showed signs of having been pulverized, Spock utilized his scope to determine that Outpost 4 fortunately remained. However, the fourth outpost was soon destroyed by an Romulan Bird-of-Prey that was responsible for having pulverized the second and third outposts.

After tracking the Romulan ship to comet Icarus IV, Spock used his scope to determine that the Enterprise was losing sensor contact with the Bird-of-Prey as it entered the comet's tail. Spock also used his viewer to see that the Romulan ship was continuing on a course straight towards the Neutral Zone. However, after the Enterprise opened fire on the Bird-of-Prey, Spock saw in the device that a signal, representing the Romulan vessel, on the starship's motion sensor had halted.

Among debris encountered outside the Enterprise, Spock, by using his scope, was able to distinguish vessel wreckage and a body, although he also used his scope to determine that the wreckage was of insufficient mass to have been an entire vessel. With this information, Spock deduced that the debris was most likely the result of an attempted trick to fool the Enterprise's crew into believing that the Romulan ship had been destroyed. When he tried to locate the Bird-of-Prey by checking the perspective of the Enterprise's sensor probes through his scope, Spock detected no motion in the Starfleet ship's vicinity. After relocating the Romulan craft, Spock again used his scope to analyze debris launched from the Bird-of-Prey, this time including a nuclear warhead that the scope detected as a metal-cased object. Although the weapon struck the Enterprise, the Starfleet ship was the ultimate victor of the battle, as the Romulan vessel self-destructed. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

Spock may have also used his scope to track the Romulan Bird-of-Prey to the comet as, in the shots in which he reports the Bird-of-Prey's movements, it is unclear whether he is looking at the device or another part of his console.

Also notable is that the word "blip", used by Spock to describe the representation of the cloaked Romulan Bird-of-Prey on the Enterprise's motion sensors, is the same noun used to describe the appearance of a shuttlepod on T'Pol's viewer in ENT: "Shuttlepod One".

Shortly before departing the planet Tantalus V, the crew of the Enterprise accidentally brought aboard Simon Van Gelder, an escapee from the Tantalus Colony. On the way back to Tantalus V in order to return Van Gelder to the colony, Spock peered through his scope while he reported to Kirk that the ship would arrive at its destination in fifty-seven minutes, thirty seconds. Seeing that Spock looked fascinated by the scope's contents, Kirk tried to simultaneously look into the device but failed to determine the nature of its display. Spock explained that the device was showing an extremely interesting identification tape on Van Gelder from the ship's library, revealing that he was actually a doctor who had been assigned to the Tantalus colony six months earlier. (TOS: "Dagger of the Mind")

While the Enterprise received an Earth-style SOS distress signal, Spock used his scope to ascertain that the source of the signal was not a vessel, but a nearby planet. As the ship approached the planet, Spock again utilized the device to measure the planet's circumference, mass and mean density, as well as to determine that the planet was spheroid-shaped and had an atmosphere consisting of oxygen and nitrogen, much like Earth. (TOS: "Miri")

After Enterprise shuttlecraft Galileo became lost in the quasar-like formation Murasaki 312 in early 2267, Kirk looked through the science scope and listened to the ship's computer voice to learn that the phenomenon had ionized the entire surrounding sector, causing a massive equipment failure on board the Enterprise. Before the ion storm dissipated, Lieutenant Uhura could be seen looking through the scope's eyepiece shortly before she reported the nearby presence of Taurus II to Captain Kirk. (TOS: "The Galileo Seven")

Later that year, Spock hijacked the Enterprise while the ship and its captain were at Starbase 11 but Kirk managed to pursue the vessel in a shuttlecraft from the starbase. As the object following the Enterprise had not yet been identified, Spock quietly used his scope before determining more information about the craft from the ship's computer, which was able to identify the object as a shuttlecraft. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I")

While Captain Kirk and a landing party were exploring the surface of the Shore Leave Planet, Spock's scope detected strange readings from the planet's surface that indicated a form of power field was in operation, most likely subterranean in origin. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

Spock momentarily again used his scope, following the sudden appearance of planet Gothos. When the Enterprise later attempted to leave Gothos, the same planet re-appeared in front of the ship three times; Spock's scope identified the planet as being Gothos and, during the planet's first re-appearance, registered that the ship and planet were on a collision course. (TOS: "The Squire of Gothos")

Engineering scopes[]

Engineering scope

A scope at an engineering station

Aboard Constitution-class starships, a secondary scope was introduced at the bridge's engineering station in 2267. Another scope was added to the environmental engineering station around this time. The appearance of these devices was identical to the science viewer's second configuration. (TOS: "Catspaw", "The Doomsday Machine")

It is not entirely clear when exactly the scope at the environmental engineering station was added, due to the fact that the station does not appear in every episode and, when it does, is usually manned by an officer, physically hiding whether the viewer is present or absent. Although that particular device first appeared in "The Doomsday Machine", the only episode in which its use can clearly be seen is "Wolf in the Fold", which shows an unnamed command division lieutenant repeatedly gazing into the scope's eyepiece while working at the environmental engineering station after Redjac invades the ship's computer.

Both these scopes were used aboard the USS Enterprise until their removal in 2269. (TOS Season 2; TOS Season 3; TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star") Both viewers were duplicated as part of the USS Enterprise replica, constructed on planet Gideon. (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon") However, they were omitted from a holodeck simulation of the Enterprise's typical bridge that could be accessed in 2369. (TNG: "Relics")

Tactical scope[]

Constitution helm console with viewer

Hikaru Sulu using his tactical scope

Mayweather Viewer

Travis Mayweather using his tactical scope during battle

Tactical scope interior

The interior of a Constitution-class tactical scope, showing a D7-class Klingon battle cruiser

A tactical scope, installed into the helm station aboard several Constitution-class starships, was added to the bridge in or prior to 2267. This automated style of viewer was stowed inside the actual helm station, hidden beneath a set of small double-doors built into the console. When the device was required, use of the console would maneuver the scope into place, slowly lifting the small hatchway doors open while elevating the device to the helmsman's eye level as the scope was unfolded from its compact storage position.

Note that, although this style of viewer is first seen in an episode set in 2267, it may have been designed and implemented before that year, unseen in episodes due to it being hidden within the helm console in every potential appearance. Though such a possibility seems unlikely, there is no evidence to completely disprove the theory.

The design of this tactical scope was much different from and more complex than that of all other contemporary scopes, and the device was perhaps even more intricate than the science viewers of the previous century. It essentially consisted of two thin, metallic legs that supported an upper functional body. A metallic grille was positioned between the two legs, binding them together. The functional body of the device was comprised of two trapezoidal components; the first and larger part connected the eyepiece, the second and higher of the components, to the support legs below and had a rectangular light on the opposite side to the eyepiece. The connecting component's rectangular light and a light within the eyepiece would glow green and blue respectively, in times of use. The base of the connecting component was rimmed with a small metallic frame. Although each part of the device was grey in color, two different shades of grey were used; the small frame and lower support legs were lighter in shade to the top of the connecting component and the eyepiece. (TOS: "Friday's Child", et al.)

This style of tactical scope, so called because it was frequently used in battle situations, was employed by Lieutenant Sulu aboard the Constitution-class Enterprise until at least 2270. (TOS Season 2; TOS Season 3; TAS) Automated viewers of the same style could be found aboard at least two other Constitution-class starships - the Defiant, aboard which Sergeant Travis Mayweather used the device after the Federation ship was transported to the year 2155 of the mirror universe, and, over a century later, the Imperial starship ISS Enterprise, where Lieutenant Sulu's counterpart utilized the tactical scope in 2267. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"; TOS: "Mirror, Mirror") Like all other scopes used aboard the Constitution-class USS Enterprise, an inoperable duplicate of the tactical scope was present on Gideon in 2268. (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon")

In 2285, the tactical station on the USS Reliant and that on the Enterprise were both equipped with a tactical scope. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

These tactical scopes are neither mentioned in the film's script nor in its novelization. The same prop was likely used for both scopes, as the same set was used for the bridges of both Reliant and Enterprise in the film.

Other Starfleet scopes of the 2260s[]

Auxiliary control center scope[]

Spock using scope in Auxiliary Control Center

Spock using the scope in the Enterprise's auxiliary control center in 2267

In 2267, a scope could be found in the Enterprise's auxiliary control center. This device, which could be used to obtain readouts from the ship's history computer, had an extremely similar design to the science and both engineering scopes on the bridge but included a slightly longer shaft.

While helping Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy question the space probe Nomad in the auxiliary control center, Spock used this scope for historical research, correlating all available information on Nomad to learn about the probe. (TOS: "The Changeling")

The direction in which this scope is facing changes between shots, a fact which constitutes a continuity error.

Transporter room scope[]


By 2267, the transporter rooms of several Constitution-class ships had been installed with a scope that had a similar appearance to virtually every other scope used aboard the same class of ship, with the exception of the tactical viewer. The top of the transporter room scope did not have grooves, however, unlike the Constitution-class science viewers and the scope that, in 2267, could be found in the Enterprise's auxiliary control center.

The transporter room scope was affixed to a console built into a wall of the transporter room, in an alcove aft and to the side of the main transporter console. (TOS: "The Changeling") The scope's console included several controls, some of which could be used in conjunction with the scope, and a circular light independent of the scope's internal light. The light within the scope was less temperamental than the circular light and it would continue to function even if the other light was sparking. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth")

The transporter room of the USS Enterprise was equipped with this style of scope from 2267 until at least 2268. (TOS Seasons 2 and 3) The same ship's mirror universe equivalent and its Gideon duplicate also each included a transporter room scope, in 2267 and 2268 respectively. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror", "The Mark of Gideon")

Aboard the Enterprise, the device was mostly utilized by Spock. However, Spock and Captain Kirk simultaneously used the device, together, at least once. (TOS: "The Changeling") Crewmen Lemli and Vinci also individually operated the device. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth", "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")

History of a transporter room scope[]

Moments after the hitherto unidentified Nomad was beamed aboard the Enterprise, Spock used the transporter room scope in an attempt to obtain sensor readings of the object's interior but his scans were unable to penetrate a protective screen that the probe had activated.

While the same, potentially deadly probe was struggling to compute an error within its systems, Spock again manned the transporter room scope as Kirk and Scott beamed Nomad back into space. Shortly thereafter, Kirk joined Spock and they used the scope to observe Nomad self-destruct, both looking away from the device when the probe exploded brightly. (TOS: "The Changeling")

After the Enterprise traveled back in time to 1968 and accidentally intercepted an unidentified person's powerful transporter beam, Spock used the scope to determine that the beam was originating from an unlikely distance of at least a thousand light years away. The unidentified person was actually Gary Seven, who beamed aboard the ship but later escaped and transported himself back down to the Earth's surface.

While Kirk and Spock tracked Gary Seven on Earth, Lemli quietly used the Enterprise's transporter room scope but his gaze was distracted from the viewer when both senior officers were transported aboard the ship, accidentally accompanied by two policemen native to the 20th century. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth")

The following year, Crewman Vinci used the transporter room scope and deactivated the device shortly before transporting Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy aboard the Fabrini vessel Yonada. (TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")

After the ship was contacted by an individual who claimed and appeared to be Abraham Lincoln, Spock used the scope in the transporter room to scan the individual's position, a seemingly uninhabitable planet, in preparation for beaming the individual aboard. For a moment, the scope seemed to detect that the individual was almost mineral before it settled down to completely Human readings. Spock also looked at the scope before announcing that taped music which would welcome the individual aboard was ready to be played. (TOS: "The Savage Curtain")

Other species' scopes[]

In 2267, Carl Jaeger theorized that Trelane's house and its decor seemed to indicate they had been based on observations using "a viewing scope" if it were sufficiently powerful to allow its user to watch what had been happening on Earth. Though Trelane confirmed he had been doing that, he didn't say whether he had used such an instrument to do so. (TOS: "The Squire of Gothos")

The line of dialogue in which Jaeger refers to a theoretical "viewing scope" was scripted to instead refer to hypothetical telescopes.

Romulan scopes[]

Romulan scopes

Romulan scopes being utilized aboard the Romulan Praetor's flagship, a Romulan Bird-of-Prey, in 2266

In 2266, three white scopes were used, rather than a main viewscreen, aboard the Romulan Praetor's flagship that attacked several Federation outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone. The scopes were each connected by and positioned around a thin, white column whose base, on which each scope sat, was much like a table. Each scope consisted of a control surface and a large, higher screen similar to a 23rd century Starfleet science or engineering scope, in the way its featureless exterior jutted out of the control surface. In normal operation mode, the screens would constantly change color, slowly filtering through the visual spectrum. Although the colors on each screen would change simultaneously, individual controls below every screen could be altered at each user's discretion.

The controls were dark brown dials, three of which were precisely arranged adjacent to one another near each scope's base, while a fourth could be found above the innermost and middle of the lower controls. The other section of the control surface, between the four controls and the screen, was flat and featured thin strips of colored light – one on either side, and another at the top, just below the screen.

On the sides of each scope were twistable, metallic handles that each officer could grip if the craft was shaking, such as during battle situations. When the Romulan flagship became damaged in battle, the screens lost power and darkened. They emitted smoke and sparks shortly before the vessel's destruction. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

Only two scopes were seen at any one time, though the presence of an additional scope can be determined by the positioning and viewpoint of the Romulan officers present. The visual devices are named as "screens" by one of the officers.

The column of scopes was designed to resemble a submarine periscope, as "Balance of Terror" was influenced by the submarine warfare movie genre, with the warbird acting in a similar capacity to a submarine.

Manny Coto was a fan of the Romulan scopes. "I always liked [them]," he noted. ("Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise, Part One: New Voices", ENT Season 4 Blu-ray special features)

Klingon scopes[]

Klaa with scope

A Klingon scope in 2287, being prepared for use by Klaa

B'Etor and scope

A Klingon scope and its user, B'Etor, in 2371

B'Etor and scope 2

A starboard view of the same Klingon scope, being used by B'Etor

During or prior to 2287, the Klingon Empire designed a type of scope that remained in widespread use aboard Klingon ships until about 2351. This bronze-colored apparatus was very different from the scopes normally used by Starfleet, the Romulan Empire and the Terran Empire of the mirror universe, being much larger than most other scopes and designed to be personally utilized by the ship's commanding officer. Like some scopes used identically by Starfleet and the Terran Empire (for example, the science viewers used aboard NX-class starships and the tactical helm scopes implemented aboard Constitution-class ships), Klingon scopes could be moved between a usable, extended position and a more hidden location; upon activation, the scope would descend from the bridge's ceiling where it would be returned after use.

A Klingon scope essentially consisted of a long, round shaft comprised of three main sections. The lowest sections were of the most interest, as the highest of the three was entirely bare, neither decorative nor notably useful except that it contracted when the scope was not needed. On the side of the shaft facing the viewer, a screen was set into the middle section and, on the opposite side, the section was labeled with a red hexagonal Klingon sign written in formal Klingonese text. The lowest section included sturdy hand-grips – two small cylinders that jutted out of two thin hexagonally-shaped blocks on either side of a central column. The column was vertically connected to the shaft of the higher two sections by a thin horizontal plate, made of a different material that was slightly shinier than the rest of the scope's exterior. The apparatus could swivel at the user's discretion.

Klaa used a Klingon scope aboard his ship, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, in 2287 and another Klingon scope was later used by B'Etor on the bridge of a D12-class Bird-of-Prey under the command of she and her sister, Lursa, shortly before the ship's destruction in 2371, twenty years after that class of ship had been retired from service. Though these scopes were virtually identical, they did have slight differences – the 24th century style of Klingon scope was labeled differently from Klaa's scope, with orange rather than red signs and only one rather than both of the thin hexagonal blocks labeled; the screen on the older scope was positioned on a slightly raised surface while the more modern screen was built into the scope at the same level as the shaft; the newer scope had hand-grips that internally glowed with a purple, faint luminescence instead of being surrounded by white bands like the older hand-grips; and, most noticeably, Klaa's scope had struts that folded down from the shaft and could be manually moved into position on either side of the user, extending between the scope and the command chair, securing the user in their seat. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Star Trek Generations)

The same Klingon scope prop was used for both The Final Frontier and Generations, as clarified by a text commentary in the latter film's Special Edition DVD set.

Galileo on Klaa's scope

The screen of Klaa's scope, targeting the shuttlecraft Galileo

Klaa's scope could be tied into conjunction with the weapon systems at a station behind and to the left of his chair, with the hand-grips effectively serving as triggers. Klaa used his scope in this way to destroy the space probe Pioneer 10. He later used the equipment to target the Galileo, a shuttlecraft assigned to the USS Enterprise-A, but required the input of an officer behind and to the right of his chair to subsequently alter the scope's aim from the shuttlecraft to the Enterprise. Again using the scope's firing mechanism, Klaa then fired a photon torpedo at Enterprise that missed its target. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Near the end of The Final Frontier's script, Spock unstraps himself from the "elaborate gunner's rig" when confronting Kirk. The filmed version of the same scene shows Spock sitting in the Klingon command chair, without the gunner's rig, and Klaa is the only character in the movie's final version to use the apparatus.

B'Etor used her scope during combat with the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise-D. (Star Trek Generations)

It is unlikely that B'Etor's scope was used in conjunction with the ship's weapons, as B'Etor does not issue an instruction for the device to be tied in with those systems, such as Klaa's order for "All weapons to [his] control," but she does order her crew to "fire at will" and later to attack with "full disruptors". If her scope was not used to fire weapons at the Enterprise, it may have been utilized to simply monitor the progress of the battle or to target the enemy vessel while another officer was responsible for actually deploying the weapons. The writers of Generations are themselves unclear as to the device's function; in a commentary track with co-writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore included in the film's DVD, Moore remarks, "We don't really know why there's a periscope on a Klingon ship, but they have one." The device was likely a last-minute addition to the movie, as it does not feature in the film's script.


See also[]

Notable appearances[]

Background information[]

Mike Sussman at a viewer

Michael Sussman with a "scope"

According to Matt Jefferies, a production designer and art director of Star Trek: The Original Series who designed the original USS Enterprise, the scope used by Spock is reminiscent of RADAR stations used by World War II naval ships. Because early RADAR imagery was very weak, ambient room light typically overwhelmed and "washed out" the RADAR screen. Rubberized viewing hoods were needed to allow the RADAR operator to see images. These viewing hoods are no longer required, as LEDs used by modern RADAR are brighter.

Although the only spoken reference to the fictional Star Trek device was in "Shuttlepod One", the technology was referred to therein as a "viewer", a name that was often used to describe a viewscreen, even in later episodes. The script of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan calls Spock's version of the instrument a "scope" and Klaa uses the same name to refer to his own viewing apparatus in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The term was also used in the revised final draft script of "Balance of Terror", cited three times to refer to the Romulan devices in that installment (albeit used interchangeably with such terms as "scanners", "hooded viewers", and "hooded screens"). In his written adaptations of The Original Series episodes, James Blish refers to Sulu's scanner as a "gooseneck viewer".

According to the subtitles commentary for ENT: "Broken Bow" written by Michael and Denise Okuda for the ENT Season 1 DVD, the "hooded scanner" that T'Pol uses both in the episode and in the rest of the series was "inspired by Spock's viewer on the original Enterprise bridge". In the same episode's DVD audio commentary, Rick Berman describes T'Pol's scope as "a little homage to the viewer that Spock will have in a hundred years". The link between the two scopes, notably both used by Vulcan science officers who at some point joined Starfleet, was also established in canon; in ENT: "These Are the Voyages...", Deanna Troi likens the scope found in a holographic simulation of the NX-class Enterprise's bridge to a photograph she once saw of a similar device that had been used on "Kirk's ship".

The contents of a scope's eyepiece was never shown in The Original Series but both Star Trek: The Animated Series and Star Trek: Enterprise were eager to reveal interior views of scopes. The first animated episode of Star Trek, "Beyond the Farthest Star", featured a magnetic flux reading on Spock's science viewer and the fifth episode of the same series, "More Tribbles, More Troubles", showed an approaching Klingon D7-class battle cruiser, as seen through Sulu's tactical scope.

Interior views of T'Pol's scope appeared twice in episodes of Enterprise. "Fight or Flight" revealed how a long range tactical scan appeared through the device and "Dawn" showed the scope's display of a thermo-kinetic analysis. These revealing graphics were computer generated, as both science viewers had only a light bulb inside. Although an actual video screen was at one point planned for installation inside T'Pol's scope, the production staff were reminded that the audience had never seen the inside of Spock's viewer and the plan was consequently scrapped. Special effects technician Wil Thoms, who operated many of the "automatic" doors on Enterprise, was also responsible for the fact that T'Pol's scope was rigged to extend on command.

Scopes have been the subject of many parodies, particularly of The Original Series. They have also been featured in several serious fan productions, including the New Voyages fan films. The tactical scope prop used in the ENT Season 4 episode "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" was donated to the production by the makers of that particular fan series.

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