The search for Dark Matter is the most pressing astrophysical problem of our time – the solution to which will help us understand why the Universe is as it is, where it came from, and how it has evolved over billions of years – the unimaginable depths of deep time, of which a human life is but a flickering instant.
But in that instant, we can grasp its immensity and, through science, we can attempt to understand it.
The movie is presented by Dr Alan Duffy, a brilliant young astronomer from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) at the University of Western Australia – who creates simulations of Dark Matter evolution inside supercomputers.
Alan introduces us to the idea of Dark Matter, why astronomers think it exists, and explains why Radio Astronomy is so well-suited to its discovery.
We explore why the new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Telescope, currently under construction in remote Western Australia, will be so important in this scientific quest.
But this is only the beginning.
We journey through completely immersive visualisations of Dark Matter evolution calculated upon some of the world’s fastest supercomputers – cosmological visions on a truly vast scale, in which galaxies themselves are but points of light, distributed across far larger intergalactic structures of Dark Matter. These visualisations, developed by Paul Bourke, demonstrate the cutting-edge of contemporary supercomputer visualisation of massive scientific datasets and astrophysical simulation.
It sounds like Science Fiction, but it’s not. It’s the real stuff. Real Data, seen in this way for the very first time.
If, like our composer, Cathie Travers, you don’t happen to be a Computational Cosmologist, then consider her response:
“It’s mind-blowing that we have this capacity to look into the universe, it doesn’t matter whether I am processing all the relevant data in the correct intellectual manner, it is fabulously and literally wondrous to experience any kind of glimpse into an experience of the infinity beyond my own tiny speck. My memory of seeing the version some weeks back at Horizon is: total and utter pleasure and excitement witnessing the visuals, my feeling that the light generated by Paul’s beautiful visualisations is a representation of what’s happened billions of years ago…a sense that the light of other days was passing through me as the image revolves and rotates around the full-dome. It will stay with me for a very long time – and hopefully with everyone who sees the film…and that is what will encourage the population to support further research.”
Directed by Peter Morse, DARK is an adventure to the very edges of contemporary cosmology and data visualisation, telling a complex scientific story with a touch of humanity – for an intelligent audience.
We hope you enjoy DARK
Update: The movie previews to our select audience on August 28th at Horizon Planetarium, Scitech, Perth, Western Australia on August 28th 2012. Public release shortly thereafter, details to be announced.
Production details: 4k Fulldome resolution (4096 x 4096 px); 5.1 surround sound audio. Duration: 20 minutes.
Dark Matter Visualisations: Paul Bourke
Music: Cathie Travers
Audio: Peter Morse & Trevor Hilton
Lighting: Peter Morse & Ákos Brúz & John Doyle
Fulldome Timelapse: Peter Morse & Chris Henderson
Digital Sky Milky Way Animation: Carley Tillett
Galaxy Animation: Paul Bourke
Editing, 3D Modelling and Computer Animation, Compositing & Special Effects, Colour Grade: Peter Morse
LadyBug-3 Video: Paul Bourke, Peter Morse
Parkes Panorama courtesy of Alex Cherney
Milky Way Panorama courtesy ESO/S.Brunier
Compute & Network Support: Jason Tan, Ashley Chew, Khanh Li (iVEC@UWA)
Special thanks to:
Andreas Wicenec, ICRAR
Sally Hildred, Martina Smith
©2012 iVEC@UWA & Peter Morse