I went to a preview screening of the new sci-fi film, Sunshine, last night. It’s a pretty good example of the standard ‘crew far from home must do something important to save humanity’ genre, and an enjoyable couple of hours. I should say right now that the science is mostly complete rubbish built on speculation, but then this is a film whose premise is essentially a reboot of the Sun (by launching a completely unexplained payload into the centre of it) which has begun to die (for reasons that also aren’t explained). The crew are cut off from contact with Earth due to solar flares interfeering with communications in ‘the dead zone’; the only problem is that this zone extends further out than the orbit of Mercury, from where even Mariner 10 using 1960s technology happily sent back data. Still, the film did an excellent job of making the Sun look absolutely stunning (the transit of Mercury seen from close up was particularly good) and if it means that more people find their way to images like those from TRACE, that’s fine by me.
Coincidently, we’re showing this amazing movie from the Japanese/American/British satellite Hinode on the program this month and it’s well worth a look. The Earth is about an eight of the width of the image.
UPDATE: Movie link corrected.