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A visual representation of the warp signature of Degra's vessel

A warp signature was a detectable neutrino emission produced by warp-driven starships. Determined by the alignment of a vessel's warp coils, a warp signature was unique to an individual ship, a fact which could make locating a specific vessel much easier if the warp signature was already known. (ENT: "Azati Prime", "The Augments"; DS9: "For the Uniform")

Some species' vessels produced a unique warp signature, making it easier to identify a vessel as originating from that species. Hirogen ships, for example, generated dicyclic warp signatures. (VOY: "Prey")

Other than a general reference to the term, no indication was otherwise given to explain the significance of such a warp signature, but for reference, the term "dicyclic" is most commonly used in botany and chemistry to mean two spiral or ring-shaped patterns.
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, this type of warp signature was defined as: "Energy characteristic produced by the warp engines of Hirogen vessels, by which the ships could be identified by long-range sensors."


The Shenzhou detects incoming Klingon warp signatures just before the start of the Battle of the Binary Stars

On April 5 2063, a Vulcan ship conducting a survey mission in the Sol system detected the warp signature from the Phoenix, Earth's first warp-capable vessel. Deciding to investigate, the Vulcans landed and made First Contact with the vessel's pilot, Zefram Cochrane. (Star Trek: First Contact)

In 2153, the Tellarite bounty hunter Skalaar, who had abducted Captain Archer with the intention of delivering him to the Klingons, utilized a beacon orbiting a G-type star to generate a warp signature identical to his own ship, in order to throw the crew of Enterprise NX-01 off his trail. (ENT: "Bounty")

In 2154, Captain Archer was able to identify Degra's ship by analyzing the vessel's warp signature. (ENT: "Azati Prime")

Later that year, the Vulcans used unmanned probes to generate false warp signatures in the vicinity of Paan Mokar, a Class-D planetoid which they had previously given up to the Andorians, in an attempt to misdirect the Andorians into believing that the Vulcans were preparing to retake Paan Mokar, when, in actuality, they were planning to invade Andoria. (ENT: "Kir'Shara")

The same year, while Enterprise was attempting to locate a group of Augments in Klingon space, Commander Tucker was able to realign Enterprise's warp coils to reproduce the warp signature of a Klingon battle cruiser, in order to safely travel through the area. (ENT: "The Augments")

In 2371, upon stealing the USS Defiant, Thomas Riker had a Maquis vessel send out a fake warp signature identical to the Defiant's, in order to deceive the Cardassians into believing that he was mounting an attack in the Almatha sector. Commander Sisko, however, was able to uncover Riker's deception, when he noticed that the signature's phase variance and subspace harmonics did not match the Defiant's. (DS9: "Defiant")

In 2373, after having taken over the body of USS Voyager crewmember Kes, the Delta Quadrant warlord Tieran stole a shuttlecraft, and successfully suppressed its warp signature by remodulating the plasma injectors. (VOY: "Warlord")

Later that year, Michael Eddington, former Starfleet officer-turned Maquis leader, utilized an unmanned probe to send out neutrino emissions, faking a warp signature, in order to evade Captain Sisko on the Defiant. (DS9: "For the Uniform")

Having traveled back in time from 2373 to 2063 to stop a Borg plot to avert First Contact between Humans and Vulcans, the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E was able to obscure the ship's warp signature using the moon's gravitational field, thereby remaining undetected by the Vulcan ship. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Later in 2373, the Dominion generated a series of false warp signatures to lead the combined Federation-Klingon fleet at Deep Space 9 to believe that an armada of Jem'Hadar vessels was about to mount an attack on the station. It was later discovered, however, that it was a Dominion ruse to maneuver the fleet to Deep Space 9, and then destroy the Bajoran sun, in an attempt to wipe out both fleets in one move. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

Also that year, Benjamin Sisko and Michael Eddington evaded several Dominion ships in the Badlands by plotting a spiral course around a plasma filament, dissipating their runabout's warp signature. (DS9: "Blaze of Glory")

In 2374, the crew of a Jem'Hadar fighter was able to mask their warp signature from the crew of the Defiant, by approaching from the anterior angle of a subspace compression anomaly which the Defiant crew was studying. (DS9: "One Little Ship")

In 2376, as part of their plan to steal a Borg transwarp coil with which to shorten their journey back to the Alpha Quadrant, the crew of the USS Voyager used a shuttlecraft as a diversion while they boarded a Borg sphere. As the Borg did not initially appear to view the shuttle as a valuable target, Captain Janeway ordered the energy output of the shuttle's warp profile increased, an act which led the Borg to detect its warp signature and assimilate it. (VOY: "Dark Frontier")

Later that year, during the Federation's attempt to re-take the Chin'toka system from the Dominion, the crew of the Defiant managed to use their deflector array to imprint a Federation warp signature on a subspace power generator which was supplying energy to a series of Cardassian orbital weapon platforms, causing the platforms to fire on their own source of power. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets")

Also that year, Leucon and Yifay, parents of Icheb, an adolescent Borg drone liberated from the Collective by the Voyager crew, utilized a Brunali transport vessel designed to emit a false warp signature as bait for the Borg. Utilizing this signature, which was designed to penetrate subspace and make it appear as if the vessel were traveling at warp 9.8, they planned to let the Collective re-assimilate Icheb, whose genetic structure had been designed to produce a pathogen deadly to the Borg. (VOY: "Child's Play")

In 2378, The Doctor played The Blue Danube waltz in one of his recitals. When he and Captain Janeway were abducted by renegades from the Hierarchy, The Doctor altered a recording of the waltz so that it would sound out of tune. By performing a Fourier analysis, Seven of Nine found that The Doctor had modified the harmonics of the piece to imitate a warp signature, allowing Voyager to track their captors' ship. (VOY: "Renaissance Man")

In 3188, Michael Burnham asked for Aditya Sahil's help in locating the warp signature of the USS Discovery. Though the attempt failed, Sahil had the warp signatures of two other Federation ships in flight. (DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 1")

See also