007 at Atacama

Posted by Anonymous
on Thursday, April 10, 2008

Actor Daniel Craig, director Marc Forster, and actor Mathieu Amalric on the Atacama Desert set. Sony Pictures/ESO
When astronomy and cinema come together, you may think of the space views presented in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien.

Astronomy and movies also mix on Earth. Filmmakers use observatories, planetaria, and other astro-facilities in their productions.

One of the most popular astronomical locations used is Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Griffith played host to angst-ridden James Dean, as he pouted his way through Rebel Without a Cause, and Arnold Schwarzenegger when he arrived from the future in The Terminator.

The next James Bond film, Quantum of Solace,will feature a few scenes at the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) site in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Insiders report that the film won’t show the VLT system of four separate optical telescopes. The desert’s inhospitable nature and Paranal Residencia attracted the filmmakers. Still, I think the VLT system would be as an impressive lair for a sinister villain. That would rank right up there with Blofeld petting his cat inside the fake volcano in You Only Live Twice.

Do you have any favorite movie scenes shot at Earth-bound astronomy sites?  Post below.

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