The TV series never really elaborated on what type of travel the ships of the Rag Tag Fleet actually used. There were no references to Warp Speeds or Hyper Space or Jump Drives (The staples of most Sci Fi space stories.) Only one reference to ‘Light Speed’ occurs (that I can recall!) and that implies the Galactica going to light speed. Considering the distances involved, the time frame and the fact that the Cylons don’t swarm the fleet in the first episode, it is obvious that some form of FTL travel exists. It can’t be too fast, or the Fleet would rapidly escape the Cylon menace and it can’t be too slow or any escape would be impossible. As it is, evasive maneuvers, trickery, frequent course alterations and such are all essential to survival.
For want of a better term I have borrowed a phrase from another BSG GM on another site and refer to the FTL speeds of Colonial and Cylon ships as ‘Hyper Speed’
As a rule of thumb, Colonial civilian vessels, liners, freighters and such, have a Hyper Speed capability of 2x to 5x Light Speed with an average of 3x. Colonial Military vessels, Battlestars, Cruisers, Destroyers, Vipers etc, have a Hyper Speed capability of 8x to 12x Light Speed with an average of 10x. Cylon ships, tankers, troop ships and Escort Carriers and Base Ships (Base Stars)and some fighters, have a Hyper Speed capability of 7x to 9x Light Speed with an average of 8x.
Navigation at Hyper Speed is basically straight line. The Navigator plots a course to the destination, the ship is brought around to that bearing. Long range scanners and star charts are consulted to determine if there is anything in the way, then the ship goes to Hyper Speed for a predetermined time period or ‘Run.’ This Run is limited by the amount of energy available to power the Hyper Speed engines or the extent of clear navigable space known, which ever comes first.
Once a ship is at Hyper Speed it is undetectable by ships that are not EXACTLY matching its Hyper Speed. Similarly it can only be attacked by ships matching its speed and then only with energy weapons.
A ship CANNOT enter Hyper Speed when in a Gravity Well of a planet, star, moon, large asteroid etc. To overcome the effects of the gravity well would require more energy then any ship, Colonial or Cylon, is capable of generating. While traveling AT Hyper Speeds a ship must be careful not to come too close to a gravity well or it will be violently yanked from Hyper Speed to sub light speeds, usually suffering damage to the FTL engines in the process.
Ships traveling at Hyper Speed are able to ignore small objects, astralons (micro meteors) and such, in so far as the leading edge of the Hyper Speed effect tends to push aside these small masses. Larger objects can be a different matter. Impacting these can cause massive damage to a starship and require vigilance on the part of the sensor crews to avoid the collision. Altering course while at Hyper Speed is impossible. The only way to avoid a collision is to immediately drop out of the Hyper Speed Run. This may not prevent the collision, but hitting something at Probe Speed is an altogether different matter then hitting it at Hyper Speed.