I have noticed something quite impossible while roaming the halls of my fleet starbase. On the tactical and science levels, there is a sensor readout of a part of the eagle nebula, something called "the Pillars of Creation". This is a picture taken by the hubble telescope in 1995, however, this was blown away by a supernova some 1000 to 2000 years ago. Why is my starbase scanning it now?
Perhaps someone is running an analysis of how it was in the past when they did not have trek era sensors. All they would need to do is get ahead of the light emitted from before it was disturbed.
So much of our understanding of the universe derives from temporal observation. Comparing before to after effects. I imagine that cosmological research in the 25th century would as much focus on analyzing these temporal changes from different places (as opposed the limited perspective of one planet) using more advanced technologies and techniques as they would by analyse new phenomena by actively visiting them.
Sort of like being able to go back in time (without violating the temporal directives) and recording pivotal moments to augment legacy or incomplete data.
however, wouldn't it make more sense to go to a place closer to the eagle nebula so we could scan the moment of destruction rather than scan something that has been in your database for several centuries?
This all hinges on whether or not the image obtained by Spitzer is actually that of an expanding supernova shock wave. Until a candidate remnant star is located it's still a bit all up in the air. As for the game it depends what they are scanning, there will certainly still be spectral information arriving in 2409 from the eagle nebula but if it is a close proximity scan from deep space array transmitting data back over subspace then it does raise questions. Well spotted!
Light travels at a finite speed, and by the 25th century, we have surpassed that speed greatly via warp speed. So, when an event happens, like the Pillar of Creation being created/destroyed, there was a unique light pulse or picture that was sent out in an ever expanding sphere.
As this sphere crosses you, you can look out and see the event happen in real time. Normally for us mortals we can only see the event once. But since a Federation starship easily outstrips the speed of light, it can go out, past the edge of the current light sphere, and re-intercept the light from that event.
Granted, there is a diminishing return on it, as the farther out you go the less and less resolution you can get out of the event. So, by 2409, you cant back up and zoom into Wolf 359 and see the battle all over again. It's been about 52 years since the event, and the explosions of starships would be too faint to see from that far away.
However, another trekkie event, the explosion of the Amargosa star in ST:Generations, would be bright enough to pull this on. This event took place 38 years from game time. Thus, if you go 38 ly from Armagosa (and you can get this accurate down to the kilometer if you felt like it, since we know via historical records exactly when Armagosa happened down to the second.)in any direction. You can park your ship there and turn your long range sensors down wind towards where Armagosa use to be. By that time, the light from the explosion will be crossing your path.
So, the same idea could be done with the Pillar of Creation, without violating any laws of causality. Einstein approved.
Actually just compared it to the actual picture taken from the hubble telescope, it is taken from the same angle, and all surrounding stars have the same position and luminosity. So it definitly is a picture taken from at least the same angle, and it suggests it is taken from the same distance.