Interstellar film features radical new black-hole model

Special-effects design leads to astrophysics discovery
October 28, 2014

A new model of a black hole for the movie Interstellar, with an accretion disk comprising detritus, is based on new discoveries by astrophysicist Kip Thorne (credit: Warner Bros. Pictures International )

With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history: traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.

That’s the theme of the upcoming film Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway and opening Nov. 7.

A black hole also plays a key role in the film (to explain how the characters could experience time at different rates), with a design based on new mathematical models created by astrophysicist Kip Thorne. As noted in WIRED, Thorne expects at least two technical papers would come out of his research that went into creating the movie’s black hole, one for the astrophysicists and another for computer graphics specialists on the team’s discoveries about gravitational lensing.

Warner Bros. Pictures International | INTERSTELLAR – Official International Trailer 4

WIRED | Christopher Nolan and Kip Thorne give WIRED an exclusive look at the creation of
‘s black hole.

Thorne’s diagram of how a black hole distorts light (credit: Kip Thorne)