Back when Warner Bros. released Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” the film’s scientific accuracy was championed by the cast and crew. Nolan wanted to ensure that “Interstellar” adhered as closely as possible to Real Science when it came to depicting wormholes and black holes, so he hired Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne as an executive producer and scientific consultant on the movie. Thorne worked closely with the VFX team to nail the look of the film’s black hole, named Gargantua.
With the recent groundbreaking release of the first real black hole photo, it appears Thorne and the “Interstellar” team favorably predicted the the world’s first look at the space phenomena. Astronomers captured the first image of a real black hole and made the image public on April 10.
The photograph shows a red-orange circle made out of dust and gas that forms the outline to the black hole, which is located 55 million light years away from Earth in the Messier 87 galaxy. The “Interstellar” black hole was created using a new CGI rendering software that was based on theoretical equations provided by Thorne and a group of researchers. The new technology led Thorne to discover information about the gravitational lensing and accretion disks surrounding black holes.
The “Interstellar” black hole was also presented as a sphere and not two-dimensional, complete with disks of dust and gas that formed ring shapes. It appears Nolan’s black hole correctly portrayed the orange dust and gas effect of a real black hole. In Thorne’s companion book “The Science of Interstellar,” he wrote the accretion disk of a black hole would be able to emit light because it is “anemic and at low temperature—about the temperature of the surface of the sun.”
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The black hole in the real photo is unseeable, but the disk pops in a similar fashion to what “Interstellar” portrayed. Claire Denis’ “High Life,” now playing in theaters, also depicts a black hole in somewhat similar fashion to Nolan’s. Compare and contrast the real black hole to Nolan and Denis’ films in the photos below.
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— A24 (@A24) April 10, 2019