Sunday, November 20, 2011

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Titanic Sky

James Cameron's Oscar winning film, Titanic, is famous for being accurate.  Everything from the design of the ship, the chandeliers, gown design and plate settings are historically accurate.  The film is supposed to be scientifically accurate as well.  For example, how the ship sank was a painstaking detail that Cameron wrought over ... the angle of the ship as it sank, the speed of the sinking and the affects of the impact.   When you go around claiming how accurate your film is, there are going to be people looking for things that are wrong.  One of those people is Neil deGrasse Tyson (my favorite astrophysicist), the director of the Hayden Planetarium.

The HMS Titanic sank in the Northern Atlantic on the 14th of April, 1912. There is only one set of stars that should have been visible on that night.   Yet this film, that totes scientific and historical accuracy, had the wrong set of stars in the sky.  Not only were they the wrong stars, but that star pattern that hangs over Kate Winslet shoulder at the end of the film, just doesn't exist.  Only half the pattern exists, the rest of the sky is a mirror image of the first half of the sky.  He got lazy here perhaps hoping that no one would notice or care.  

It is nice to have some pull.  In 2012 a revised 3D version Titanic  will be released for the film's 15th anniversary.  The correct sky is in the new release of the film.  James Cameron has bumped into Tyson a number of times.  I think Cameron might just be sick of Tyson bringing it up.

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