Science fact or fiction? | Chasing Starlight 2

Explore the science behind some of the most popular science fiction movies, such as Avatar and Interstellar.  

In this episode, ESO astronomer, Suzanna Randall, explores what is fact and what is fiction in Avatar’s Alpha Centauri system, Betelgeuse’s fate and Interstellar’s Gargantua black hole.

Along the way see how discoveries made with ESO’s telescopes help us get a deeper appreciation of the world of science fiction. 

00:00 Introduction

00:43 Avatar’s planet Pandora 

03:56 Red supergiant star Betelgeuse 

06:58 Interstellar’s Gargantua black hole 

Discover more from ESO:  


Directed by
: Martin Wallner, Luis Calçada, Martin Kornmesser
Hosted by: Suzanna Randall
Written by: Jonas Enander, Claudia Sciarma, Bárbara Ferreira, Martin Wallner
Editing: Martin Kornmesser
Videography: Angelos Tsaousis
Footage and photos: Y. Beletsky (LCO)/ESO, ESO/B. Tafreshi, ESO/M. Kornmesser, ESO/L. Calçada, ESO/ NEAR Collaboration, NASA-JPL/Caltech,, timemagazine, INAOE Archives, N. Patel, EAO-W. Montgomerie, D. Harvey, N. Billot, Wikipedia, S. R. Schimpf, IRAM, ESO/B. Tafreshi (, N. Risinger (, NASA, ESA, EHT Collaboration, Solar Dynamics Observatory, videvo, Digitized Sky Survey 2, Davide De Martin, José Francisco Salgado (
Music: Johan B. Monell (, Luis Calçada, videvo
Animations & Infographics:  Luis Calçada, Martin Kornmesser
Web and technical support: Gurvan Bazin and Raquel Yumi Shida
Scientific consultant: Juan Carlos Muñoz Mateos
Promotion: Oana Sandu
Filming Locations: ESO Supernova (
Produced by ESO, the European Southern Observatory (

Movie clips:

Avatar (2009)
20th Century Fox, Lightstorm Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, James Cameron (director), James Cameron (producer), Jon Landau (producer)

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)
Lightstorm Entertainment, TSG Entertainment Finance LLC, James Cameron (director), Richard Baneham (executive producer), James Cameron (producer p.g.a.), Jon Landau (producer p.g.a.), Peter M. Tobyansen (executive producer: Prep Only), David Valdes (executive producer), Brigitte Yorke (associate producer)

Lost in Space (2018 – 2021)
Netflix, Irwin Allen (creator) , Matt Sazama (creator), Burk Sharpless (creator) Sazama Sharpless Productions, Applebox Entertainment, Synthesis Entertainment, Clickety-Clack Productions, Legendary Television

Beetlejuice (1988)
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Tim Burton (director), Michael Bender (producer), Larry Wilson (producer), Richard Hashimoto (producer)

Blade Runner (1982)
Alcon Entertainment, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Ridley Scott (director), Michael Deeley (producer)

The Black Hole (1979)
Walt Disney Productions, Gary Nelson (director), Ron Miller (producer)

Interstellar  (2014)
Legendary Pictures, Syncopy, Christopher Nolan (director), Emma Thomas (producer), Christopher Nolan (producer), Lynda Obst (producer)

About the Video

Release date:30 June 2023, 14:00
Duration:11 m 40 s
Frame rate:25 fps

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