“Black Holes – The Other Side of Infinity,” a film that has been playing to sold out audiences in museums and planetariums across the country since it first came out last summer, is presented by NASA and the GLAST (Gamma-Ray Large Area Telescope) mission, “an international and multi-agency mission currently scheduled for launch on January 31, 2008. GLAST will study the cosmos looking at objects that emit high energy wavelengths of light,” according to the GLAST website.
“Black Holes – The Other Side of Infinity” is narrated by Liam Neeson. It discusses the properties of black holes – how they are formed, how they can be detected, etc. They did an excellent job of showing how a black hole is formed – when the core of a supernova collapses in on itself as the heated gasses flowing inward toward the core finally turn into iron. It was really incredible to learn that a black hole is 1 million times the earth’s mass, and yet it is 1 million times smaller!
The film has some fantastic “footage” of their interpretation of what it would be like to be in a black hole. They compare it to a riptide, and even show simulated kayakers rowing frantically toward the “event horizon”, which is the point beyond which there is no hope of return from a black hole.
The film discusses in depth the role the Swift telescope is having on our study of black holes. This telescope was launched in November of 2004 and has a “front row center” view of the universe as it watches for “gamma bursts,” which occur when a star goes supernova.
Another interesting part of “Black Holes – The Other Side of Infinity” dealt with the research currently being conducted at a site in Hawaii regarding the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Several minutes of the film deal with a “journey” to the center of the galaxy, and it is very well done. The description of “frothy,” a word sometimes used to describe this enormous galaxy, was exactly what the film portrayed.
Although not an “IMAX event,” “Black Holes – The Other Side of Infinity” does have a couple of “IMAX moments,” the strongest being a point where the film demonstrates the space-time continuum, how black holes disrupt and damage the continuum. For a few seconds, the chairs in the planetarium feel like they are tipping downward as you are “drawn” into the grid of the continuum, and you find yourself grasping the arms to keep from falling out of the chair!
Take your family to see “Black Holes – The Other Side of Infinity”. You won’t be disappointed.