Geek Trivia

The Night Sky In The Movie Titanic Was Corrected At Whose Behest?

Stephen Hawking
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Jocelyn Bell
James Cameron
Which Of These Is Considered The Most Destructive Invasive Species In The United States?
Scene showing the Titanic sinking against a backdrop of stars
Paramount Pictures

Answer: Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and outspoken defender of scientific accuracy in public discourse and communication. His passion for accuracy even extends to movies and, throughout the 2000s, he frequently used the inaccurate starscape of box-office hit Titanic as an example of poor research and delivery (in fairness, director James Cameron deserved this ribbing in light of his pitching the movie as an accurate representation of the ship and the time period).

In a 2012 interview with The Telegraph, Cameron explained:

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 (Kate Winslet) is lying on the piece of driftwood and staring up at the stars, that is not the star field she would have seen, 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.’

The revision to the starscape was the most significant change made for the 3D/Blu-ray re-release of the film.