That Graeff chose astronomers to discover the alien spacecraft and not necking teens as in The Blob (1958) shows a commitment to addressing the alien landing as a realistic threat, rather than a cartoonish shock-fest like most other science fiction films of that era. Taking a page from The Day the Earth Stood Still's book, Graeff suggests with his film that our actions and our way of life could be of consequence to possible “others” beyond ourselves, and also addresses the fact that these others could be as careless about our culture as we are about each others’.
And whether by chance, coincidence, or necessity, the observatory Graeff chose to include in his film is as steeped in history as the questions that we’ve asked ourselves since the dawn of man.
- sun is not at the center of the Milky Way galaxy
- proof that countless galaxies exist in addition to the Milky Way
- existence of the magnetic field of the sun and its key role in solar activity
- recession of the galaxies indicating the Big Bang origin of the Universe
- existence of populations of stars of various ages in our galaxy
One of the perks of the observatory’s location is its non-varied weather conditions, which allowed for the scientists at Mount Wilson to use interferometry to heighten the results of their research. In layman’s terms, interferometry is: “the use of multiple viewing points to increase resolution enough to allow for the direct measurement of the size of details.” 1
“superposing (interfering) two or more waves, which creates an output wave different from the input waves; this in turn can be used to explore the differences between the input waves. Because interference is a very general phenomenon with waves, interferometry can be applied to a wide variety of fields, including astronomy, fiber optics, optical metrology, oceanography and various studies of quantum mechanics”2
As for whether we'll ever meet our long lost friends, enemies, or maker in the sky,
- http://www.mtwilson.edu/ - Mount Wilson Observatory, Official site.
- http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/butowsky5/astro4d.htm National Parks & Services