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What the Stars Looked Like the Night Titanic Sank

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Next week will be the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, one of the most tragic maritime disasters in modern history.

As I profiled earlier this week, James Cameron and his team of technicians worked tirelessly for more than a year to re-release his 1997 blockbuster on the tragedy in 3-D; a move that appears to be paying off: the film grossed more than $4.7M domestically yesterday. Current estimates say that it could end up with more than $90M worldwide by the end of this weekend.

Not bad for a film more than 15 years old.

Anyways, unlike George Lucas’ infamous tweaks to his Star Wars films, Cameron was fairly adamant about leaving his original film as is – well, except for one tiny change.

“Oh, there is one shot that I fixed,” he told UK mag Culture. “It’s because Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is one of the U.S.’ leading astronomers, 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, 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, you son of a bitch, send me the right stars for the exact time, 4:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, and I’ll put it in the movie.’ So that’s the one shot that has been changed.”

So what exactly would the stars have looked like had you been in the middle of the North Atlantic on the morning of April 15, 1912? Courtesy of Tyson and the Hayden Planetarium, I present to you the heavens that gazed down upon Titanic and her passengers.

The stars on April 15, 1912


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