back to article Interstellar sci-fi WORMS its way into spinning black hole science FACT

Boffins who worked alongside Hollywood film-makers on the Oscar-nominated sci-fi flick Interstellar reckon they've come up with new discoveries that reveal the "powerful effects" of black holes – all thanks to the computer code that was used for the movie. As The Register reported back in October, theoretical physicist Kip …

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Paris Hilton

"It's ray tracing, Jim. But not as we know it!"

So, if one actually had a blackhole obscuring the starfield a few AUs away, one could easily deduce its spin by just looking for the whirled-up caustics?

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Raytracing

I wasted too many hours back in the early nineties on Persistence of Vison. I'm guessing my old 386 would have struggled a tad to recreate a Black Hole though - It took it all night just to display a simple glass sphere....

I'd still have tried though.

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The black hole took a bite out of the text...

Typo: In " ...show the effects of gravitational lensing – a simulated camera method...", the missing words -- perhaps "by using" -- should be restored in place of the "– ", as gravitational lensing itself is not a simulated camera method.

Of course, if our universe itself is in fact just a giant simulation, no change is necessary. :)

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Re: The black hole took a bite out of the text...

nope, just brief English... ' I am talking to you *by using* this forum ' or ' I am talking to you in this forum' ..

' I have photos of my holiday ' or ' I have photos of my holiday by using my mobile phone as a camera'

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Proof?

The technical achievement of Interstellar is equal to the technical achievement of Gothic churches. Both are impressive, and neither proves anything.

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bri

Re: Proof?

What proofs are you talking about regarding empirical science, such as physics? The best you can do is to find out that your model/hypothesis is not in conflict with current observations and possibly that the alternative model is indeed in conflict. You can't mathematically/logically prove anything of consequence though.

The empirical knowledge may change (and often does change) with more thorough observation. In real world, proofs are useful only within models which give them constraints, something to hook up to. We don't live in an idealized model however.

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Re: Proof?

I guess they mean, both use maths and engineering and "science", one to construct an arch and a solid building, one to construct an image of a black hole.

But they are not in the pursuit of science themselves. I'd rather a scientist be wrong and know why, than an artist accidentally be right and think they understand. We need both understanding and the correct goals.

(For reasons why doing the math alone is not good enough, see the other 99% of Hollywood movies that cause crimes against science, logic, and nature :P ).

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Re: Proof?

But they are not in the pursuit of science themselves. I'd rather a scientist be wrong and know why, than an artist accidentally be right and think they understand. We need both understanding and the correct goals.

This is very much in the pursuit of science. Science goes (1) observation -> (2) hypothesis -> (3) prediction -> (4) test (via observation or experimentation) -> (5) replacement/refinement of hypothesis -> (3).

This is a prediction based on current hypotheses of the behavior of black holes. The method used for this can be extended beyond visible light and to distances further than used for the movie. So this prediction model can be tested against future observations to further test our understanding, and may be useful in determining if and how much a given black hole is spinning.

And your mischaracterization of "scientist" vs "artist" and how they interact with their world does disservice to both.

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Comment optional

I just clicked into this article by hypnotised rabbit factor 8.

Article title made no sense, just like this commnet, like playing darts blindfolded with soggy digestives.

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Re: Comment optional

LOL :) the title makes more sense than most, the reg staff like to mess around... :D :D

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Puzzlement...

Which came first: The boffinery or the computer code? Or was it hand-in-hand?

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So we did get something worthwhile from the $165m spent on the film then.

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It made $20million profit from 'domestic' (US ??) and box office is almost $672 Million worldwide... :) :)

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=interstellar.htm

'something worthwhile' ??? it rather depends on your outlook, many scifi guys think its worth seeing more than once! :)

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Anonymous Coward

It made my son say he wants to be a scientist when he's older.

Inspirational value immesureable.

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Re: New Virtual Future Deals ...... with Novel Ways Forward

NB .... Lack of cogent feedback in an unaccompanied with positive comment anonymous down vote is surely an undoubted sign of a number of missing links which have rendered to an activated and/or reactionary poster, a subject matter ignorance?

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I don't understand

the animation lacks any context for me to understand what's occurring. It's appears to be a near-white-noise triptych and some stuff along the top that you'd want to crop.

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Re: I don't understand

hey dont panic, you need to be einstien or hawking to understand...

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Re: I don't understand

Image looks comfortingly like a row of airplane windows. 'Look outside, Johhny, isn't that a pretty view?'

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Re: I don't understand

If it's easier-to-grasp movie graphics you're after - check out "The Black Hole". Slightly less accurate, I'll grant you, but still, Funny Robots!

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Headmaster

Can't be right

You'd not ever see the black part that way. The matter is being sucked in all round it in 3 dimensions. If you were anywhere safe in its line of sight all the matter in front of you would obscure your view of the hole itself, in fact probably making it a bright light as it all heats up on its way to oblivion.

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Re: Can't be right

Yes but that would only happen if blackhole was actually surrounded by matter to devour. It is indeed expected that some blackholes are in the center of galaxies (or other dense objects) where there is matter in proximity which would create messy ring around the blackhole (accretion disk caused by drag from the rotation of blackhole), but it is also expected that there will be some blackholes with very little matter left around to be sucked. These will look just as pictured.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can't be right

The look of the black hole is just about the only thing they got right.

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Re: Can't be right

Certainly not the x-ray dose you'd get from the accretion disk.

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The video reminds me of the "folding space" sequence in David Lynch's excellent sci-fi film Dune. It seemed rather surreal and odd looking at the time, but maybe it wasn't so far off after all - reality stranger than fiction and all that.

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Meh to the video

The BBC's clickonline have a better one.

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One of the worst Sci-Fi movies ever made.

They were so worried about what the black hole looks like, that nobody bothered to consider what would happen to the rest of the solar system if you park a 3+ solar mass black hole right next to the planet Saturn.

According to the movie - nothing happens. Thus destroying any hope of obtaining "plausible deniability" and making the rest of the movie completely unwatchable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One of the worst Sci-Fi movies ever made.

It was a wormhole next to Saturn. Not a black hole.

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