PDA

View Full Version : Astronomy in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow *spoiler*



AstroSmurf
2004-Nov-11, 12:55 PM
Just went to see this movie, which was a lot more fun than I was expecting.

At one point in the movie, the heroes are directed to the secret lair of dr. Totenkopf by one of his victims, who gives them some sort of cane-like navigation tool called a "Jacob's Ladder" and tells them the name of the star to use it with, Rana or something like that. I have no idea how these things work - is this Good or Bad?

pghnative
2004-Nov-11, 11:19 PM
The only "Jacob's ladder" that I'm familiar with is the Bible story of Jacob envisioning a ladder leading from heaven to earth. Apparently it is also a toy (http://www.woodcraftarts.com/jacob.htm). None of this relates to use as an astronomical or navigational instrument.

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Nov-12, 04:50 AM
Best Line of the Movie:


Lens Cap.

Nowhere Man
2004-Nov-12, 05:02 AM
There was so much preposterous stuff in that film that a bit of bad astronomy (which was ridiculous anyway) is really unnoticable. It's definitely a check-your-brain-at-the-ticket-counter type of movie. But it's a great ride nevertheless.

Edit to add: A Jacob's ladder is also a high-voltage demonstration device. (http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/jacobs.htm) It's two metal rods, close at the bottom and spread at the top. A spark jumps the gap and climbs up the rods with a satisfying zzzzZZZZZT! noise.

Fred

nomuse
2004-Nov-12, 07:28 AM
Friend of mine makes the note...."So she took a picture with the lens cap on. So what? If the lens cap is any good, you can just rewind the film and take the shot again!"

AstroSmurf
2004-Nov-12, 09:14 AM
Edit to add: A Jacob's ladder is also a high-voltage demonstration device. (http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/jacobs.htm) It's two metal rods, close at the bottom and spread at the top. A spark jumps the gap and climbs up the rods with a satisfying zzzzZZZZZT! noise.
I don't know about you, but that page made my fingers itch :) Talk about a fun gimmick to turn your home into a real Mad Scientist's Lab. The RF situation might put a damper on it, unless a Faraday cage might prevent the emissions.

I'm not sure they actually called it a Jacob's ladder in the movie - it was typed from memory. Looked like some sort of angular measure to me.

Rue
2004-Nov-12, 03:39 PM
.... and tells them the name of the star to use it with, Rana or something like that.

Rana, the Frogstar?

nomuse
2004-Nov-12, 11:43 PM
Totally from memory (and mine isn't so good these days) although they had a Jacob's Ladder in one scene the navigational tool they used was referred to as a Jacob's Staff.

Trivia bit...first work on the film was done on a Mac IIsi (shudder). He'd upgraded to a Quadra by the time he had six minutes rendered -- and that's when he called the studio to get a real render farm (and a staff of over a hundred).

mike alexander
2004-Nov-13, 12:27 AM
Just saw the film yesterday. My wife noted that that's how New York SHOULD look, and I agreed.

I liked the part where the torn out scrap of printed map was to perfect scale on the hand-drawn map on the opposite side of the earth.

Maybe the most derivative (or homage-full) film I've ever seen (look, there's the light saber fight, the Forbidden Planet catwalk, the King Kong tree across the chasm, the Indiana Jones explosion, etc.)

Flash Gordon/Nick Fury/Blackhawk/Captain Midnight. Absolutely turned off my brain and loved it.

Although it would have been better if the roles of Gweneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie had been reversed.

eburacum45
2004-Nov-13, 02:06 PM
Rana, the Frogstar?

There is of course a star called Rana;
http://www.solstation.com/stars/rana.htm

(and also a genus of frogs, as your jest indicates)...

teddyv
2004-Nov-16, 10:15 PM
The only "Jacob's ladder" that I'm familiar with is the Bible story of Jacob envisioning a ladder leading from heaven to earth. Apparently it is also a toy (http://www.woodcraftarts.com/jacob.htm). None of this relates to use as an astronomical or navigational instrument.

Another "Jacob's ladder" is the rope or chain ladders used on ships. The name is derived from the Biblical account. Obviously, as mentioned this has nothing to do with navigation.

Charlie in Dayton
2004-Nov-17, 01:20 AM
Not having seen the moom pitcher, but putting it on my list of things to see (talk about an homage fromage of all them there 30's'n'40's B pictures...)

The reference to a "Jacob's Staff" rang a bell.

SEE HERE (http://www.heritage.nf.ca/exploration/navigate.html) for descriptions and illustrations of and in the use of the Cross Staff and Back Staff (early navigation instruments circa the 16th century, variants on the astrolabe -- these instruments eventually transmogrified into the sextant).

AstroSmurf
2004-Nov-17, 08:40 AM
Thanks for the clarification. Definitely a Jacob's Staff then. Question is, can you really use one of those plus a star to get a coordinate? Doesn't seem likely to me - at best you might figure out the latitude (and have to guess whether it was S or N).