The dimensions of a Heighliner
(Warning, contains mathematics!)
The Heighliner is Dune is (to me) one of the more iconic starships in science fiction, as as such I want to feature it in my next drawing. A couple of variations exist:
- In Dune and its sequels, the Heighliner wasn’t described at all. It was, I think, just a cool-sounding plot device to get Character A onto Planet B.
- In David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation, a Heighliner was presented as massive and cylindrical.
- The The Dune Encyclopaedia showed us Heighliners that were little more than bubbles of tinfoil demarcating the area of space affected by their space-folding drive.
- And then, yeah, SyFy’s 2000 adaptation had what was actually a fairly cool interlocked, revolving network of modules and girder segments that was open to space.
I’d consider the cylindrical design more canon: Kevin J. Anderson went and used it in his otherwise-terrible prequel novels. Mr. Anderson also went and did me the good favour of providing the length of a Heighliner: Twenty kilometres.
With that in hand, I went and screencapped Dune, brought it into Photoshop and took some measurements. The Heighliner was 309.92 pixels long and 86.77 pixels wide. Let us apply…math!
(86.77 / 309.92) * 100 = 27.998
Rounded up, A Heighliner’s width is 28% that of its length. Yeah, I know. My on-screen source isn’t that great. However, it is all that I have available and therefore it suffices.
A further bit of math delivers the Heighliner’s approximate width:
20000 * 0.28 = 5600
For comparison’s sake, you could fit two Babylon 5′s facing each other end-to-end inside of a single Heighliner:
Fanwankery aside, all I really need is the ratio so I can draw this bloody thing in Photoshop:
20000:5600 = 25:7