Thursday, December 31, 2009

Palomar in Science Fiction - Kronos

I just had the opportunity to watch the 1957 sci-fi movie Kronos and was pleased to learn that it is another of the many films that have featured Palomar Observatory.

In the movie the astronomers, working at LabCentral, are tracking a 4-mile wide "asteroid" known as M47 (not to be confused with the star cluster of the same name), which is apparently headed directly for, you guessed it, Earth.

Early on we see LabCentral from the outside, the dome look a bit like the 200-inch at Palomar, but not too much, as we are lacking the other buildings, the security guard station, etc.

Further observations and analysis determines that "asteroid" M47 will hit near New York and we get to see Palomar's 200-inch Hale Telescope.

Of course in the film it isn't Palomar, its LabCentral. Palomar does get named though as astronomer Dr. Gaskell mentions that he needs to phone professor Winter at Palomar to get verification of the position of M47.

The gang at LabCentral launch 3 nuclear missiles to destroy M47 in our upper atmosphere (that might even be worse than letting it hit), but alas the mysterious object absorbs the nuclear energy and lands in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Mexico (no where near New York).

What emerges is a giant, um robot, dubbed Kronos.

The still image doesn't do Kronos justice. Check out the trailer for the film embedded below and you'll see what I mean.

Yes, the movie is cheesy, but it is fun and surprisingly good in places.

p.s. This is my 500th post on this blog and I am wishing a Happy New Year to all the readers of Palomar Skies!


Mike Weasner said...

Ah, one of my favorite movies! Thanks!

jay said...

one of my favorite late 50's syfy movies. It has those cylinder "legs" going up and down as it moves...and absorbs all energy. I haven't seen it in many years.

John Miller said...

Hey Scott - glad to see you referenced Kronos! Campy, yes, but still a favorite in my library. Big guy made me uncomfortable in the movie theatre as a kid..