Wired: The Warped Astrophysics of Interstellar

Kip Thorne is an theoretical physicist who helped developed the concept for the movie Interstellar.

“The story is now essentially all Chris and Jonah’s,” Thorne says. “But the spirit of it, the goal of having a movie in which science is embedded in the fabric from the beginning—and it’s great science—that was preserved.”

The film put so much effort into the appearance of the black holes that they actually made some legitimate scientific findings…

Black Hole

“We found that warping space around the black hole also warps the accretion disk,” [Double Negative senior supervisor, Paul] Franklin says. “So rather than looking like Saturn’s rings around a black sphere, the light creates this extraordinary halo.” That’s what led Thorne to his “why, of course” moment when he first saw the final effect. The Double Negative team thought it must be a bug in the renderer. But Thorne realized that they had correctly modeled a phenomenon inherent in the math he’d supplied.

Light-based media

Building a black hole

‘Some individual frames took up to 100 hours to render, the computation overtaxed by the bendy bits of distortion caused by an Einsteinian effect called gravitational lensing. In the end the movie brushed up against 800 terabytes of data. “I thought we might cross the petabyte threshold on this one,” [CG supervisor at Double Negative, Eugénie] von Tunzelmann says.’ — Wired

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