Neil DeGrasse Tyson fact-checks science of movie 'Gravity'

It might have been the weekend’s biggest box office hit — but “Gravity” — starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney — is apparently rife with scientific inaccuracies. In it, Bullock and Clooney are astronauts surviving in deep space after their shuttle is destroyed. (via Warner Bros. Pictures / “Gravity”)

So while most of us watched in amazement at the visuals — popular astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson was busy fact-checking. (via NASA)

In a series of tweets he provided commentary and questions about the movie’s accuracy. (via Twitter / @neiltyson)

For example: “Why Bullock's hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head.” (via Twitter / @neiltyson)

Or: “When Clooney releases Bullock's tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together.” (via Twitter / @neiltyson)

Everyone’s a critic. Especially Tyson when it comes to Hollywood.

He once called out “Titanic” director James Cameron for a scene in which Kate Winslet is apparently looking up at the wrong star field. (via 20th Century Fox / “Titanic”)

“There’s only one sky she shoulda been looking at. And it was the wrong sky. (Laughter)” (via YouTube / StPetersburgCollege)

Cameron, by the way, fixed that scene for the 3D re-release. And then there was the time Tyson corrected the opening graphic of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

“The beginning of your program — your Earth is spinning in the wrong direction.” (via Comedy Central)

And once it was fixed:

“Earth was spinning the correct direction, except it was spinning a little too fast.” (FLASH) “What does it take to satisfy you?!” (via Comedy Central)

But back to “Gravity.” To be fair, Tyson isn’t the only one calling the movie out. Time’s Jeffrey Kluger points to a few issues — and before you say, “Why can’t you just enjoy the movie?” — Kluger writes,

“ is science and facts are facts and when a movie purports to traffic in both, it’s only fair to point out the blunders…”

Then again, he ends with:

“Absolute technical accuracy matters—except when it doesn’t. Gravity gets a well-earned waiver.”

“Gravity” brought in an estimated $55.6 million this weekend — so we’re thinking most enjoyed the flick regardless.

Including, by the way, Tyson himself, who tweeted… “...if you must know, I enjoyed #Gravity very much.” (via Twitter / @neiltyson)

- See more at

Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.