To actually visit the most cutting-edge telescope facilities in the world, one has to travel to far flung places—such as the Chilean Andes at altitudes of up to 5000 metres. Now there is an easier way to experience these extreme locations.
For the first time in IMAX 3D you can now explore ESO's flagship facility, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), on screen, as well as visit the largest astronomical project in existence—the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA, an international astronomy facility supported by Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile) in the film Hidden Universe.
Russell Scott directed the film, and worked on location during the shooting in November 2012. "The experience of filming in the Atacama Desert at such world-class observing facilities has been amazing," he says. "Some of the otherworldly locations among the Andes mountains almost make you feel like you're on another planet, and this sensation of nature—beyond what we are used to—is exactly what I want to transmit to the audience."
From these extreme locations on Earth, the audience will be taken on a breathtaking tour of deep space in the cinematic medium that does it best: IMAX 3D. Viewers will peer deep inside vivid galaxies and nebulae, travel over the terrain of Mars, and witness stunning images of the Sun. The Universe is brought to life through real images and previously unseen giant-screen 3D simulations based on astronomical data gathered by the VLT, ALMA, and other telescopes such as the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, creating an immersive IMAX 3D experience.
"Hidden Universe will explore the Sun, our human connection to the cosmos, and amazing views of faraway galaxies in a previously unseen way—giving a fresh insight into the Universe," explains producer Stephen Amezdroz.
The movie is narrated by British actress Miranda Richardson, winner of a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the art-house hit Enchanted April, and recipient of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in Louis Malle's Damage, for which she won a BAFTA Award.
Hidden Universe is filmed in 15/70 mm and is produced by Australia's award-winning production company December Media in association with Film Victoria, Swinburne University of Technology, and ESO. The film is also produced in association with and distributed by two-time Academy Award-nominated MacGillivray Freeman Films, the world's leading producer and distributor of IMAX films.
"We're enthusiastic to showcase ESO's telescopes and groundbreaking science results in IMAX," said Lars Lindberg Christensen, ESO's Head of the education and Public Outreach Department. "Only the IMAX format can really convey the breathtaking experience of seeing humanity's most advanced telescopes in action!"
A list of venues showing the film will be kept updated at the film's official website.
Explore further: China launches first mission to moon and back