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Titanic in 3D Includes Neil Tyson’s Star Fix

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Neil Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson. PBS/NOVA Origins/D. Deitch


Today’s re-release of James Cameron’s blockbuster film Titanic in 3D will feature just one altered shot: a corrected view of the stars in the early hours of April 15, 1912, the day the “unsinkable” British ocean liner went down in the Atlantic Ocean.

The adjustment was made in response to feedback that Cameron, who is known for his meticulous attention to detail, received from Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson, who noticed an inaccuracy in the film after it was first released in 1997.

“In the movie, the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky,” Tyson later wrote in an essay for Natural History magazine called “Hollywood Nights,” in which he chronicled various “astro-errors” in popular movies. “Worse yet, while the heroine bobs…we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?”

After Tyson provided Cameron with details for an accurate view of that morning’s sky, the scene was corrected for a special DVD release of the film. For the 3D version of the film that arrives in theaters today—and which required more than a year to convert to 3D—the starry sky seen by Rose as she clings to driftwood is “the one shot that has been changed,” Cameron recently told a British magazine.

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