Cosm announced that its fulldome production and distribution division, Cosm Studios, has released Black Hole First Picture, a fulldome planetarium film. The film follows the journey of two young astronomers through remote global locations to achieve the historic scientific mission of producing the first photo of a black hole.
Following a journey of human perseverance, ingenuity and imagination, Black Hole First Picture encapsulates a historic milestone in science visualization and discovery — witnessing a phenomenon widely believed to be invisible: a black hole. Planetarium audiences around the world are taken on a quest that examines worldwide radio sites that comprise the Event Horizon Telescope (a global network of synchronized radio observatories that work in unison to capture images of black holes), peers into the core of the Messier 87 galaxy, and travels to the heart of the Milky Way to produce the first-ever picture of a black hole.
“Scientific breakthroughs are a direct result of hard work and worldwide collaboration,” said Neil Carty, VP, Head of Cosm Studios and Labs at Cosm. “Through the lens of this film, we see the tremendous contributions and impact made by the global science community. Representation is a central theme of the film and shines a light on the strength of diversity and fresh perspectives in science, and we are thrilled to offer this film to planetariums and fulldome theaters around the globe to inspire future generations.”
Black Hole First Picture showcases stunning cinematography of each site of the Event Horizon Telescope, including real-world footage captured at seven of the eight telescopes. To produce the film, the Cosm Studios team and Writer-Director Robin Sip traveled across 10 countries and utilized 3D printing to model the South Pole Telescope. 95 percent of the film is live-action footage, versus CGI.
“Black Hole First Picture is different from existing Black Hole films as it shows the human effort and emotion behind this very first image of a black hole,” said Robin Sip, writer and director of Black Hole First Picture. “This film is more about what it means to be an astronomer and inspires future generations with the knowledge that it pays off to think big and try to do the impossible. There is value in seeing and knowing more of the Universe we live in.”
Produced in partnership with Radboud University, the idea behind the film stemmed from the University’s Professor Heino Falcke, co-founder of the Event Horizon Telescope and US National Academy of Science Medalist.
“Everyone involved in the Event Horizon Telescope to create this now iconic image felt the historic significance of their work,” added Professor Heino Falcke. “Seeing the black hole in M87 was a magic, once-in-a-lifetime moment and the image touched millions of people around the world. The film Black Hole First Picture now captures our emotions and experiences as astronomers in an inspiring and immersive form. It is a privilege to share it with the world and let people relive our story and dreams.”
Production of Black Hole First Picture represents the intersection of Cosm’s industry-defining innovations in planetariums and its ongoing work to redefine how audiences around the world can experience content across the sectors of science and education, theme parks and attractions, and sports and entertainment. In support of this mission, the company recently unveiled plans to open public-facing venues in Los Angeles and Dallas, with more locations to come, where programming like Black Hole First Picture will be available once the venues are opened.
Black Hole First Picture will officially premiere at Museon-Omniversum in The Hague, a museum for culture and science, on February 1, 2023. It will also be shown at industry conferences and fulldome festivals throughout the year.