http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.03809(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Visualizing Interstellar's Wormhole

Oliver James (1), Eugenie von Tunzelmann (1), Paul Franklin (1), Kip S. Thorne (2) ((1) Double Negative Ltd (2) California Institute of Technology)

(Submitted on 12 Feb 2015)

Christopher Nolan's science fiction movie Interstellar offers a variety of opportunities for students in elementary courses on general relativity theory. This paper describes such opportunities, including: (i) At the motivational level, the manner in which elementary relativity concepts underlie the wormhole visualizations seen in the movie. (ii) At the briefest computational level, instructive calculations with simple but intriguing wormhole metrics, including, e.g., constructing embedding diagrams for the three-parameter wormhole that was used by our visual effects team and Christopher Nolan in scoping out possible wormhole geometries for the movie. (iii) Combining the proper reference frame of a camera with solutions of the geodesic equation, to construct a light-ray-tracing map backward in time from a camera's local sky to a wormhole's two celestial spheres. (iv) Implementing this map, for example in Mathematica, Maple or Matlab, and using that implementation to construct images of what a camera sees when near or inside a wormhole. (v) With the student's implementation, exploring how the wormhole's three parameters influence what the camera sees---which is precisely how Christopher Nolan, using our implementation, chose the parameters forInterstellar's wormhole. (vi) Using the student's implementation, exploring the wormhole's Einstein ring, and particularly the peculiar motions of star images near the ring; and exploring what it looks like to travel through a wormhole.

14 pages and 13 figures. In press atAmerican Journal of Physics

http://arxiv.org/abs/1502.03808

Gravitational Lensing by Spinning Black Holes in Astrophysics, and in the Movie Interstellar

Oliver James (1), Eugenie von Tunzelmann (1), Paul Franklin (1), Kip S. Thorne (2)

(Submitted on 12 Feb 2015)

Interstellar is the first Hollywood movie to attempt depicting a black hole as it would actually be seen by somebody nearby. For this we developed a code called DNGR (Double Negative Gravitational Renderer) to solve the equations for ray-bundle (light-beam) propagation through the curved spacetime of a spinning (Kerr) black hole, and to render IMAX-quality, rapidly changing images. Our ray-bundle techniques were crucial for achieving IMAX-quality smoothness without flickering.

...There are no new astrophysical insights in this accretion-disk section of the paper, but disk novices may find it pedagogically interesting, and movie buffs may find its discussions of Interstellar interesting.

46 pages, 17 figures. In press atClassical and Quantum Gravity

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