Expert Voices

Breaking Down the Science of Interstellar (Google Hangout)

Supermassive black hole conception, Interstellar
This artist’s concept shows a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun, like the one in the film Interstellar. (Image credit: Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Kelen Tuttle, writer and editor for the Kavli Foundation, contributed this article to's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

In the film "Interstellar," the Earth grows less habitable by the day. Choked by dust and with food sources dwindling, four explorers set off to find a more habitable planet. On the other side of a wormhole, they find a dozen potentially habitable planets orbiting an enormous black hole, and begin their exploration to find a new home for humanity. ['Interstellar' in Pictures: A Space Epic Gallery ]

The film is already a hit, in part because it's steeped in real science and theory. From the look of the wormhole to the way the black hole alters the astronauts' concept of time, "Interstellar" seeks to stay true to science . But where does the movie's dedication to science end and the fiction begin?

On Wednesday, November 26, from 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST, three astrophysicists — Mandeep Gill, Eric Miller and Hardip Sanghera — will separate the science of "Interstellar" from its fiction and answer viewer questions. You can join the Kavli Interstellar hangout live, which will feature:

Mandeep Gill, an observational cosmologist at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, located at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. His research focuses on gravity's bending of light and the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.

Eric Miller is a research scientist at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, where he studies diffuse gas to understand the structure of mass and how galaxies interact with their surroundings. He is a member of science and instrument teams for the Chandra and Suzaku X-ray Observatories, with active collaborations in the U.S. and Japan.

Hardip Sanghera is a member of the Cambridge Planck Analysis Centre, based in the Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge.He supports the European Space Agency's space-based Planck observatory, which recently completed mapping the universe's earliest light.

The conversation, hosted by The Kavli Foundation, will be broadcast live on Google Plus. Questions can be submitted before, and during, the webcast by emailing or using the hashtag #KavliLive on Google+ or Twitter.

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