Of all the changes James Cameron could have made to his 1997 blockbuster "Titanic," rearranging the heavens appears to have been one of the easiest.
The 3-D re-release of the film hit theaters yesterday, with early receipts totaling more than $4.7 million. While Cameron vowed that adding a third dimension would be the extent of his tinkering, there is one scene completely different from the original. And you can thank famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for the correction.
“Neil deGrasse Tyson sent me quite a snarky email saying that, at that time of year, in that position in the Atlantic in 1912, when Rose is lying on the piece of driftwood and staring up at the stars, that is not the star field she would have seen," Cameron told the UK Telegraph. “And with my reputation as a perfectionist, I should have known that and I should have put the right star field in.”
“So I said ‘All right, send me the right stars for that exact time and I’ll put it in the movie.'"
And that's exactly what he did.
"He'd gone diving to the wreck, he'd gotten the china right, the linen right, the costumes right, the wall sconces right," Tyson told ABC News. "Can we go back and check those things? No, but we can check where the stars would have been."
Using the latitude and longitude where the ship went down in the North Atlantic on the morning of April 15, Tyson was able to accurately simulate what Rose would have seen staring up into the dark. "We have software you can run that just unwinds the star patterns — if you get the right time and the right date, the sky is a very predictable thing, and what birthed our understanding of physics," he told the UK Daily Mail.
The below image is the result of that time machine, courtesy of Tyson and the Hayden Planetarium.