Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson wrestles with Gravity in 17 tweets

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Oct 7, 2013

Everyone's talking about Gravity, including astrophysicist and science icon Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Tyson, best known to the public for his work as a TV and radio show host and for his gig as director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, is one of the loudest voices for space education in the world, so it's easy to see why he'd be interested in director Alfonso Cuaron's astronaut adventure. Like so many moviegoers this weekend (Gravity raked in more than $50 million at the box office), Tyson checked out the film, and though he seems to have enjoyed it, he couldn't help taking to Twitter Sunday night and pondering a few of the film's scientific mysteries (meaning things that just didn't make sense to his astrophysicist brain). By the end of his free-form look into the film, Tyson had posted 17 tweets about Gravity, and we've listed a few of our favorites below. 

Warning: Tyson's tweets do contain a few SPOILERS for Gravity, so read on at your own risk. 

First, he offered an alternate title suggestion.

The film #Gravity should be renamed "Zero Gravity"

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 6, 2013

Then, he confirmed that the disaster at the heart of the film's story is scarily plausible.

The film #Gravity depicts a scenario of catastrophic satellite destruction that can actually happen.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 6, 2013

Then, Tyson offered a series of tweets that he termed "Mysteries of Gravity," pointing out things that didn't quite make scientific sense to him, ranging from the way the two tethered together astronauts move alongside each other to why some people seem more interested in this film than in actual space travel. 

Mysteries of #Gravity: Astronaut Clooney informs medical doctor Bullock what happens medically during oxygen deprivation.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 7, 2013

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 6, 2013

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why anyone is impressed with a zero-G film 45 years after being impressed with "2001:A Space Odyssey"

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 6, 2013

Mysteries of #Gravity: When Clooney releases Bullock's tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 6, 2013

Mysteries of #Gravity: How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 6, 2013

Though it might seem like Tyson was simply spending Sunday evening bashing a film full of things he found scientifically troubling, he did clarify that he was simply making observations, not being a film critic. As far as the film experience itself, here's what he thought.

My Tweets hardly ever convey opinion. Mostly perspectives on the world. But if you must know, I enjoyed #Gravity very much.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 7, 2013

So there you have it. Despite all those observations, Tyson still managed to walk away from the film liking it, which certainly gives a boost to all the praise Gravity's already been getting. 

You can check out all of Tyson's Gravity tweets on his feed. What do you think? Will his thoughts ruin the film for you the next time you see it?

(Via Neil deGrasse Tyson)