Corrected entry: When they are launched into space and change over to the other space craft they are all wearing street clothes, and then in a scene when they are getting closer to the comet they are all wearing NASA shirts.
Corrected entry: 2 days before impact, when the heroine has collected her mother's effects, she refuses to get in her father's car and hails a taxi. By that stage, surely there would be no taxis on the street and money would be worthless?
Corrected entry: The missile barrage near the end of the movie happens about seven hours before the impact. ICBMs have flight times of no more than 45 minutes and can lift their normal payloads at most a few thousand miles from the Earth. There actually *was* a plan to divert an asteroid once but it would have involved putting a nuclear warhead on a Saturn 5, many times more powerful than any current missile. Fortunately the asteroid missed Earth by a million miles or so.
Corrected entry: The astronauts' communication with their loved ones was without delay, when in fact it should have been a couple of seconds.
Corrected entry: In the beginning of the movie, when Dr. Wolf is trying to open the mail server, we see that he's using a POP server. This is not possible; POP servers are for incoming mail only. Outgoing mail goes through SMTP servers.
Corrected entry: When the Beiderman comet hits the Earth you can see from the audience's view that it stays about the same size from when it first enters Earth's atmosphere and when it hits the ground. This is not possible; the heat and pressure generated by the velocity of something as large as a comet slamming into the Earth's atmosphere is enough to even deteriorate rock and metal partially upon reentry, and Beiderman is a comet, meaning it is made mostly of ice, which melts much faster than an asteroid made of rock would. Realistically, even by conservative estimates, a great deal of the Beiderman comet would have been burned off or separated during its entry into the Earth's atmosphere, certainly enough to visibly reduce its size.
Corrected entry: When Leo Beiderman and his family are watching the live report from the White House, in which the President tells the world about the asteroid discovery, he also mentions that the asteroid will be named Leo Beiderman. After a moment the phone rings because someone heard about Leo on TV and when the door bell rings Leo opens it and he sees all his neighbours. It's absolutely impossible for them to get to his house that fast. They only just heard his name on the TV and after a few seconds all of them are already at his door.
Corrected entry: In the scene where the professional astronomer figures out that the comet will hit Earth, he tries twice to log on to email. The server is down both tries. He then gets panicky and makes a floppy of the data and addresses an envelope for mailing. Then gets himself killed while racing down the mountain to mail his package. This is stupidly wrong on several fronts. 1) A pro astronomer would be used to astronomical things happening very slowly. So he would not be in this big of a rush. 2)Being a pro, he would at least double check and probably quadruple check his data over more nights before running off to make the big announcement. 3) His first impulse was to email someone. Therefore he'd have to know enough about email to know that he could screw around with it all that night and into the next day and still have his data to whoever faster than FedEx and three days faster than US mail.
Corrected entry: When the astronauts are getting ready to fly into the 'wolf' astroid, you can hear (and see) the time to impact being counted down. They stop verbally counting down, but if you continue to count you see that the nukes detonate over 15 seconds after they should have.
Corrected entry: Its impossible for the comet to hit earth during the day in the movie, the tail of a comet usually points away from the sun meaning the comet in the movie was headed toward the sun.
Corrected entry: Leo reports his discovery to the local professional astronomer, who programs his software to plot a course for The Comet. It displays a three-dimensional graphic which shows the comet headed right for Earth. In his panic to report the discovery, he wrecks his car. First off, Leo should have reported the discovery to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/cfa/ps/mpc.html). We can forgive him this breach of professional etiquette since Leo wanted to report to his club's sponsor first. The real problem is that it takes several observations over many nights to get a good orbital calculation for comets, especially one that's a year away from impact. It's like looking at a snapshot of a baseball and being asked when it will hit the ground. What direction is it heading? How fast is it moving? One observation doesn't really tell you anything; you need to see it move. The 3D graphic was a bit over the top too. While not really impossible, it's more of a Hollywood silliness. It's there simply to drive the point home that we're in for a bit of trouble.
Corrected entry: In the opening scene, we see a group of young amateur astronomers stargazing. As we pan across the group, we see them studying maps with flashlights. The problem here is small: using a flashlight outside at night ruins your dark vision. The eye takes quite a bit of time to get adapted to the darkness; usually twenty minutes to get fully adjusted (less if you are in a light polluted area). Using a white flashlight destroys the very reason you're outside! However, the eye's dark adaption is not ruined by red light, so astronomers use red flashlights (usually modified by the high tech method of taping red cellophane over the business end of the flashlight). This may have been plot-driven; we'd want to be able to see the actor's faces.
Corrected entry: The Messiah uses its Orion drive to give itself a slight lead on the comet coming back to Earth (since it was already matched with the comet it would return to Earth anyway without firing its drive). Robert Duvall comes up with his last-ditch solution hours from impact, with the mood of the scene being that the astronauts are just now having to get used to the idea of laying down their lives when before Duvall's speech they thought they were going home in one piece (land a shuttle in Missouri and be helicoptered to the Ark caverns at the last minute? - or stay on the space station for 2 years, assuming it had been provisioned for this?). It is spelt out that they cannot get off the comet again because they have so little fuel left. This means their orbit is still very similar to that of the comet or they would not be able to navigate the vent. They are therefore approaching the Earth at unmanageable velocity and rather than assume a parking orbit they would either shoot right past the Earth or hit it at the same speed as the comet. They have been doomed for months without noticing (a different Orion burn when leaving the comet would put them on a slower orbit which would allow a safe approach to Earth long after the impact, or they could have a boost burn and a braking burn at opposite ends of the trip, but the latter would leave them with plenty of fuel).
Corrected entry: The young protaganists are supposed to be in a public high school in Richmond, Virginia. However, the student body appears to be 95% white and there are no apparent southern accents. In reality, most high school students in Richmond have very obvious southern drawls and a solid majority of students are African-American.
Corrected entry: In the scenes that lead up to the impact of the meteor, we're shown horrible traffic jams with cars all over the freeway blocking everything, yet Tea Leoni can pass all that and ride out of the city all the way to the sea to be with her father and she gets there long before the impact takes place.
Corrected entry: Leo tells Sarah that if they get married she can go with him into the Ark. He then mentions that because he's the "famous Leo Beiderman" he can insist that the authorities let Sarah's family into the Ark too. If he's as "famous" as he says he is, couldn't he persuade the authorities to let in Sarah and her parents without having to get married?Phil Watts
Corrected entry: When Jenny and her father are chatting in the rain this is occurring at the same time that the buses are collecting people ready for the Ark. Didn't the President say that there would be a curfew in place at this time? So how can she be out and her father driving around?
Corrected entry: When Sarah tells Leo there's no point in going to school, she's right - the scene is set around four weeks before the August impact, so it's July.
Corrected entry: As happens in just about EVERY disaster movie, there is a scene where everybody is evacuating a major city, while one person is driving INTO the city, and they show the road leading out to be jam packed, while the main character is on an empty road. How idiotic do these people have to be to sit there in a huge traffic jam separated from a wide open unused road by just 15 feet of a grass median. Perhaps now is not the time to obey all traffic laws, don't you think?
Corrected entry: In the part where the older mother is getting ready for her suicide by dressing up and putting on makeup she is wearing a one shouldered dress. In one cut the right shoulder is bare, and on the next her left one is bare. Or vice versa. Either way the dress is worn two different ways.