Four exceptional astronomers celebrate 50 years of work and friendship on a return road trip in the southwestern United States, recapturing youthful adventures and recounting each other's influences on the most exciting period in astronomy’s history.
I wanted to go with them because I became enchanted with astronomy as a young girl, at the time they were becoming leaders in their field: Roger the instrument-maker, Donald the theoretician, Nick the visionary, and Wal the observer. Together they represent the most productive period astronomy has ever had. They helped build the world’s biggest observatories and made revolutionary discoveries about the evolving universe, discoveries that have the power to change the way humanity sees itself.
In old age and facing death, their journey through memory and the breathtaking landscape provokes them to reflect on how their profound work on the universe has reflected back on the individual, affecting their sense of religious faith, how life may have purpose, and what is knowable and unknowable.
Filmed in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, the film features POV narration, and draws a character-driven, intimate portrait of friendship as the men travel from the century-old telescope on Mt. Wilson through a progression of larger and more powerful observatories. They pause at the Grand Canyon, and re-take a hike that nearly defeated them when they were young.