Interstellar's black hole special effects lead to real astrophysics discovery
Interstellar's black hole. Image courtesy: Paramount Pictures
Friday, October 24, 2014, 11:27 AM - Some science fiction movies have been pretty bad at getting their science facts straight, but Christopher Nolan's Interstellar is getting the science so right that it actually led to a new astrophysics discovery!
This movie has yet to hit theatres, but we've already been treated to some amazing previews so far. Some have focused solely on the story and what's happening on Earth, but the latest have given us tantalizing glimpses into what the film promises to show us out there in the universe.
The black hole - pictured above - is a key factor in the storyline, specifically in generating the wormhole that allows the characters to make their interstellar journey in the first place. However, while Nolan could have just tasked the FX team with throwing something together that looked good, he went the extra step to ensure that the science was right. Working with the film's executive producer, Kip Thorne - who just happens to be a theoretical physicist and one of the foremost authorities on Earth in the field of gravitational astrophysics - they accomplished something even more incredible than they originally expected.
In an interview with Wired, Nolan and Thorne reveal that the results not only looked amazing on-screen, but they were so remarkable that they actually helped discover something new about how black holes affect the spacetime around them!
And yes, for anyone curious about the image above and the clips seen so far, that does appear to be a planet - and apparently a habitable one with liquid water, at that - orbiting around the black hole!
Given the harsh environment that supposedly exists around these gravity-bending dead stars, it's a puzzle how that could exist. However, with the amount of solid science represented in the rest of the movie, there's more than a good chance that they've done their homework on this, and the explanation should be just as amazing.