'Hubble 3D': An out-of-this-world documentary
"Hubble 3D," a documentary narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, is an extraordinary spectacle. It's the story of the space telescope's launch in 1990 and subsequent repairs, as well as the breathtaking knowledge it has provided humankind.
Special to The Seattle Times
'Hubble 3D,' a documentary narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. Written and directed by Toni Myers. Not rated, suitable for general audiences. 45 minutes. Boeing IMAX Theater, Pacific Science Center; see Page 15.
Here's the thing to remember: a light year is 6 trillion miles, give or take, and it refers to the distance light travels in a year.
That means the light we see from stars and other heavenly bodies many hundreds or thousands or millions of light years from our eyes is very, very old. When we look at lights in the night sky, we are looking at a picture of the way things were a long, long time ago.
It's hard to grasp the full, time-machine profundity of this without something like the new IMAX film, "Hubble 3D," to offer a mind-blowing context. When Hubble — the 44-foot-long space telescope launched into low orbit around Earth in 1990 — captures images of seemingly shapeless yet jewel-like objects (most likely the earliest forms of galaxies) at or near the edge of the observable universe, those pictures of unfathomably ancient light are a window onto the universe in its infancy.
"Hubble 3D" is the ultimate visual aid to understanding why cosmos-gazing at the edge of Earth's atmosphere and beyond really matters. A typical IMAX spectacle of enormous proportions, the film is both a fantastic summary of the knowledge we've gained through Hubble and an often edge-of-your-seat documentary about some of the specialists who've serviced the telescope five times.
Partially shot in real time aboard and outside (via spacewalking) a NASA shuttle on the last servicing mission to Hubble in 2009, "Hubble 3D" has, by far, the most dazzling footage of human beings trying to make sometimes confounding repairs to the machine with Earth in the background.
While we see some familiar images Hubble has shot of distant nebulae and emerging star systems, we literally go deeper through multidimensional computer imaging of those phenomena, allowing us to visually penetrate them. In one of the film's most exciting moments, we see a model of what a swatch of space would look like if one drew weblike connections between billions of objects discovered by Hubble.
Narrated with just the right balance of wonder and authority by Leonardo DiCaprio, "Hubble 3D" is the kind of movie experience that reminds us to think of ourselves beyond the ordinary.
Tom Keogh: email@example.com
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