Supernovae in fiction

In works of fiction, supernovae are often used as plot devices.

  • In the 1999 RTS game Homeworld, one of the missions take place in a dust belt near an active supernova. The protagonists' target is a nearby research station observing the event. Despite the supernova being located lightyears from the mission area, its intense radiation is highly dangerous to ships wandering outside the dust banks.
  • In the Star Trek universe, trilithium-based weapons can cause stars to go supernova by inhibiting their fusion processes.[1]
  • In the Star Wars universe, the Sun Crusher can cause stars to go supernova with its resonance torpedoes.[2] In addition, Centerpoint Station can cause supernovae.
  • In the mythos of the comic book character Superman, his home planet of Krypton is destroyed. Some interpretations of this origin story, such as the 2006 film Superman Returns depict the destruction of Krypton as being caused by its sun (identified in the comics by the name Rao) going supernova.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode Patriot Act, many League members are away trying to prevent or smother a supernova explosion threatening a distant star system.
  • In the 2000 film Supernova, the crew of the Nightingale is threatened by a blue giant that can explode at any moment;[3] the star is later destroyed, but by a 9th-dimensional bomb rather than a supernova.
  • The 2005 film Supernova deals with the possibility of the Sun exploding.[4]
  • The 2009 direct-to-video film 2012: Supernova is about life on Earth potentially being destroyed by a nearby supernova.
  • The Futurama episode Roswell That Ends Well involves the main characters being sent back in time after radiation from a nearby supernova interacts with radiation produced by metal being heated in the ship's microwave.[5]
  • The Algae Planet in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series is destroyed by its star going nova.[6]
  • In the PC-game FreeSpace 2, the crucial Battle of Capella ends in the explosion of the star in a supernova.
  • The French cartoon Once Upon a Time... Space has one episode in which the protagonists must help to evacuate a planet near of a star that has gone supernova.
  • In Antonella Gambotto-Burke's novel The Pure Weight of the Heart, Angelica, the protagonist, gets stoned with William Grieve, the famous novelist, and says: “The first known galactic supernovae were seen in - were seen in Lupus in 1006. And . . . then . . . in, um . . . in 1054 in Taurus . . . and then in . . . was it 1572 or 1575? One or the other. At any rate, they were observed in Cassiopeia. And then . . . then . . . um, then . . . did I mention Taurus? I did? Excellent. But there were more. More Supernovae. More supernovae in Serpens. Fifteenth century. Which is interesting. I think so, don’t you? Because I do. Think so. Supernovae in Serpens. Supernovae everywhere.” Grieve narrows his eyes and replies: “No supernovae in here.” As Angelica is an astrophysicist, there are mentions of supernovae throughout the book.[7]
  • On Star Trek: Voyager several stars had exploded at one time. It later turned out that this was caused by the Q Civil War.
  • In the Star Trek episode All Our Yesterdays, the Enterprise attempts to evacuate a planet before its sun becomes a supernova.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 season two episode "A Matter of Time", SG-10 travelled to the planet P3W-451, observing a binary star where one of the stars is an active supernova. As they were watching, the supernova collapsed into a black hole dangerously close to the planet, the team being stranded by time dilation.
    • In the season four closer "Exodus" the team, working with the Tok'ra, force a star to go nova. They do this by dialing a Stargate to P3W-451 and sending the gate into the star, protected by a force field. When the Stargate entered the star in question, the shield collapsed, and a good deal of stellar matter was sucked through the gate, disrupting the star and forcing it to nova. The Supernova affected the hyperspace windows of escaping ships in such a way that they accelerated out of control and emerged four million light-years away.
  • There is also a short story, ASOV, from the 1960s, which tells the story of an Automated (or Automatic) Stellar Observation Vehicle (hence the name ASOV). One of thousand of millions produced by civilisations strung throughout the galaxy, it observes stars, sending data back 'home'. A chance hit from a passing rock diasables 'our' ASOV. It drifts, seemingly for ever, for aeons at least, to a time when the galaxy is clearly dying; ASOV is re-awakened by the energy of a nearby supernova.
  • In the 2009 movie Star Trek, a supernova destroys the Romulan home planet.
  • The Christopher Rowley novel Starhammer sees the Laowon Empire brought to its knees with the said weapon which induces a Supernova.
  • In the Fantastic Four (movie)[which?], Johnny Storm, the Human Torch is said to create temperatures near to those measured in supernovae.
  • In the 1952 novel The Currents of Space by Isaac Asimov, a scientist is assaulted when he predicts a star will go supernova. Although the orbiting planet Florinia is inhabited, it is also an important source of raw materials. A humanitarian crisis is averted when the colonial powers are convinced to evacuate the planet.
  • In the 2002 Disney film Treasure Planet, the crew of the Legacy encounters a supernova on their travels, as well as the resulting black hole. During the supernova, Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) saves the life of Long John Silver (Brian Murray) when he falls overboard.
  • In the Poul Anderson short story Supernova, part of his Technic History sequence, published in Analog science-fiction magazine January 1967 with a Chesley Bonestell cover illustration,[8] the homeworld of the reptilian Merseians is threatened by a nearby supernova. Nicolas Falkayn of the Solar Spice and Liquor company, negotiates a trade deal that provides them with the technology to survive the event, but also overturns their social structures. The Merseians do not forget, and figure prominenently as inveterate enemies of the Terran empire in the Dominic Flandry stories, later in the sequence.
  • In the Arthur C. Clarke short story 'The Star' (Infinity Science Fiction, 1955) an earth spaceship finds a museum of a people whose star went supernova. A priest officer wonders why God chose their sun as the Star of Bethlehem.
  • In the Christmas episode of Svensson, Svensson (1994), Sara tells her friend Lena she noticed in the newspaper that the Sun will explode within 3 000 years, contrary to scientific theories that the Sun will go through the circle red yellow dwarf star-giant star-white giant star through the leap of millions of years, rather than go supernova.
  • In Robert J. Sawyer's 2000 novel Calculating God a race of aliens who had uploaded their consciousness to computers crash a plane full of chemicals into Betelgeuse to cause it to go supernova and sterilize the surrounding area. However, the radiation is then covered up by what is believed to be the hand of God, thus showing that God exists and has a "master plan" for the Universe.
  • The plot of Jeffrey Carver's novel From a Changeling Star is based around the artificial induction of a supernova on Betelgeuse.


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