Supernovae in fiction

Supernovae in works of fiction often serve 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]
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode The Q and the Grey, 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. The story, written by James Inglis, was reprinted as "Night Watch" in the anthology Space Odysseys edited by Brian Aldiss.[8]
  • In the 2009 movie Star Trek, a supernova (depicted as a hypernova) 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), 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 that 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 persuaded 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" (original title: "Day of Burning"), part of his Technic History sequence, published in Analog science-fiction magazine in January 1967 with a Chesley Bonestell cover illustration,[9] the homeworld of the reptilian Merseians is threatened by a nearby supernova. David Falkayn, of the Solar Spice and Liquors 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 prominently 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 Arthur C. Clarke short story "Rescue Party" an interstellar survey ship of a galactic federation sent to survey Sol's imminent supernova belatedly discovers that Earth has a sapient civilization and attempts to rescue a sample, only to find that the planet has been evacuated in primitive sublight ark ships.
  • In the Christmas episode of Svensson, Svensson (1994), Sara tells her friend Lena she noticed in the newspaper that the Sun will explode within 3000 years, contrary to scientific theories that the Sun will go through the sequence: red dwarf star—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 consciousnesses 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.
  • In Michael McCollum's Antares series, Antares becomes a supernova, isolating some of Earth's colonies from the bulk of human-occupied worlds. It also opens new travel routes which bring humanity into contact with a xenophobic alien species which attack, thus starting the Antares war.
  • In Charles Sheffield's Supernova Alpha series (Aftermath and Star Fire), one of the Alpha Centauri stars goes supernova, affecting Earth first with an electromagnetic pulse (Aftermath), and then with a particle storm (Star Fire).
  • In the 2007 Doctor Who mini-episode "Time Crash", after their two versions of the TARDIS merge at the same space-time coordinates, the Fifth and Tenth Doctors save their TARDIS from the massive black hole caused by the paradox by creating a supernova at the same exact instant.
  • In the 2006 Doctor Who episode "Doomsday (Doctor Who)", the Doctor explains to Rose, now on the Parallel Earth, that his TARDIS is orbiting around a star going supernova to harness its energy to transmit a message in the form of a hologram, and that he's "burning up a sun just to say goodbye".
  • In The Lost Fleet book series, the destruction of a system's hypernet gate threatens to release a supernova explosion, which will wipe out much of the solar system.
  • In the 1997 video game Final Fantasy VII, Supernova is an extremely powerful attack used in the final battle of the game by the main antagonist, Sephiroth.


  1. ^ Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise; Drexler, Doug; Mirek, Debbie (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-03475-8.
  2. ^ Slavicsek, Bill (2000). A Guide to the Star Wars Universe. Ballantine Publishing Group. ISBN 0-345-42066-7.
  3. ^ van Gelder, Lawrence. "Supernova (2000)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  4. ^ Southern, Nathan. "Supernova (2005)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  5. ^ "Roswell That Ends Well". Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  6. ^ Potter, Tiffany; Marshall, C. W. (2008). Cylons in America: Critical Studies in Battlestar Galactica. Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-2848-7.
  7. ^ The Pure Weight of the Heart, Orion Publishing, London, 1999
  8. ^ Aldiss, Brian (1974). Space Odysseys. Futura. p. 311. ISBN 0-8600-7816-7.
  9. ^ "Analog Science Fiction January 1967". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.

External Links


"11001001" is the fifteenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was first broadcast on February 1, 1988, in the United States in broadcast syndication. It was written by Maurice Hurley and Robert Lewin, and directed by Paul Lynch.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Starfleet starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, members of an alien race called the Bynars hijack a nearly evacuated Enterprise while retrofitting the computer in space dock.

Make-up supervisor Michael Westmore created the look of the Bynars, who were four women in extensive make-up. The musical score was scored by Ron Jones. Reviewers praised the Bynars themselves, and the response to the episode was generally positive, with one critic calling it the best of the season. It was awarded an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series.

Calculating God

Calculating God is a 2000 science fiction novel by Robert J. Sawyer. It takes place in the present day and describes the arrival on Earth of sentient aliens. The bulk of the novel covers the many discussions and arguments on this topic, as well as about the nature of belief, religion, and science. Calculating God received nominations for both the Hugo and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards in 2001.

Doomsday (Doctor Who)

"Doomsday" is the thirteenth and final episode in the second series of the revival of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. It was first broadcast on 8 July 2006 and is the conclusion of a two-part story; the first part, "Army of Ghosts", was broadcast on 1 July 2006. The two-part story features the Daleks, presumed extinct after the events of the 2005 series' finale, and the Cybermen, who appeared in a parallel universe in the 2006 episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel". Both species unexpectedly arrive on Earth at the conclusion of "Army of Ghosts".

The concept of the Daleks and the Cybermen both appearing on-screen was first proposed in 1967, but was vetoed by Terry Nation, the creator of the Daleks. The episode is the first conflict between the two species in Doctor Who's 55-year history, and features Billie Piper's last appearance in the lead companion role as Rose Tyler; the final regular appearance of Noel Clarke as Rose's ex-boyfriend and previous companion Mickey Smith; and the final regular appearances of Camille Coduri and Shaun Dingwall as Rose's parents, Jackie and Pete Tyler. The episode and its predecessor were filmed between November 2005 and January 2006, alongside the episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel".

Set mainly in the One Canada Square skyscraper in Canary Wharf, the episode's plot consists mostly of the Daleks and Cybermen waging a global war, with humanity on the verge of extinction in the cataclysm. The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), the Tyler family, and Mickey Smith fight for their lives trying to reverse the situation. They are successful, but at an emotional cost to the Doctor and Rose, as they are left in separate universes.

The episode is one of the most popular Doctor Who episodes since the show's revival. It was nominated, along with "Army of Ghosts", for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form; the award was won by the fourth episode in the series, "The Girl in the Fireplace". It shared the revived series' highest Audience Appreciation rating of 89 with "The Parting of the Ways", "Silence in the Library", and "Forest of the Dead" until 28 June 2008—"The Stolen Earth" gained an AI rating of 91—and is favoured by most critics for both the Dalek-Cyberman conflict and the farewell scene between the Doctor and Rose.

For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" is the eighth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Hendrik Vollaerts and directed by Tony Leader, it was first broadcast on November 8, 1968.

In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise rush to stop an asteroid from colliding with a Federation world, but discover the asteroid is actually an inhabited ship.

Idiran–Culture War

The Idiran–Culture War is a major fictional conflict between the Idiran Empire and the Culture in the midst of which Iain M. Banks' science fiction novel Consider Phlebas is set. His later book, Look to Windward, contains many references to the war: particularly the induced supernovae of two stars, which resulted in the deaths of billions of sentient creatures. References to the war can also be found in Excession, Matter, The Player of Games, Surface Detail, and The Hydrogen Sonata.

It has been commented that the Idiran–Culture war, with its juxtaposition of a religiously-fanatical species fighting (and eventually succumbing to) the atheist Culture, shows the author's theme of "antipathy to religious belief, although nominally not to the believers". The commentator also refers to the war as a clash of civilizations in the sense of Samuel P. Huntington.

Inconstant Moon

Inconstant Moon is a science fiction short story collection by American author Larry Niven that was published in 1973. "Inconstant Moon" is also a 1971 short story that is included in the collection. The title is a quote from the balcony scene in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The collection was assembled from the US collections The Shape of Space and All the Myriad Ways. The short story won the 1972 Hugo Award for best short story.

Inconstant Moon (The Outer Limits)

"Inconstant Moon" is an episode of the US television series The Outer Limits. It first aired on 12 April 1996, during the second season. It was written by Brad Wright, based on the short story of the same name by Larry Niven.

Rescue Party

"Rescue Party" is a science fiction short story by English writer Arthur C. Clarke, first published in Astounding Science Fiction in May 1946. It was his first story that he sold, though not the first actually published. It was republished in Clarke’s second collection, Reach for Tomorrow, and also appears in The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke.

Supernova (2000 film)

Supernova is a 2000 Swiss-American science fiction horror film written by David C. Wilson, William Malone and Daniel Chuba and directed by Walter Hill, credited as "Thomas Lee." "Thomas Lee" was chosen as a directorial pseudonym for release, as the name Alan Smithee had become too well known as a badge of a film being disowned by its makers. It was originally developed in 1988 by director William Malone as "Dead Star," with paintings by H. R. Giger and a plot that had been called "Hellraiser in outer space." Jack Sholder was hired for substantial uncredited reshoots, and Francis Ford Coppola was brought in for editing purposes. Various sources suggest that little of Hill's work remains in the theatrical cut of the film. The film shares several plot similarities with the film Event Horizon, released in 1997, and Alien Cargo, released in 1999. The cast features James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Lou Diamond Phillips, Peter Facinelli, Robin Tunney, and Wilson Cruz. The film was shot by cinematographer Lloyd Ahern and scored by composers David C. Williams and Burkhard Dallwitz.

Supernova (2005 film)

Supernova is a 2005 television film directed by John Harrison and featuring an ensemble cast led by Luke Perry and Peter Fonda. It originally aired on the Hallmark Channel. The film is a disaster film and has a large number of special effects. It was filmed on location in Cape Town, South Africa and Sydney, Australia.

The Empath

"The Empath" is the twelfth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Joyce Muskat and directed by John Erman, it was first broadcast on December 6, 1968.

In the episode, while visiting a doomed planet, the landing party is subjected to torturous experiments by powerful aliens.

This episode is one of a handful not screened in the United Kingdom by the BBC owing to its disturbing content (torture). It was not broadcast by the BBC until January 1994.

The Martian Star-Gazers

The Martian Star-Gazers is a humorous parody article first published in the American magazine Galaxy Science Fiction in February 1962. Written by Frederik Pohl, it appeared under the pseudonym "Ernst Mason".The article is written from the point of view of an anthropologist studying the extinct culture of Mars. Among the artifacts discovered by explorers from Earth were many items that resembled umbrellas.

The writer explains that this was due to the Martian interpretation of the Milky Way and related constellations of their southern sky, which was visible from the places where their civilization arose. They came to believe that one constellation near their South Celestial pole was a malevolent being they called "Old Grabby" and that the visible portion of the galaxy represented his hands and arms. The Magellanic Clouds looked like eyes and were known as "The Peepers". The bright stars Canopus and Achernar represented horns on Old Grabby's head. The Southern Cross represented a manacle on one wrist, and the other hand was trying to reach across and break the manacle. When this happened, they believed, Old Grabby would descend and destroy them.

The superstition became so strong that Martians carried umbrellas to shield themselves from the sky. In time their civilization moved north to a point where Old Grabby was no longer visible, and they ceased to carry the umbrellas. However they could not help but notice the resemblance of the constellation Cassiopeia to the mouth of Old Grabby. Martians had a cleft jaw which gave their mouths a characteristic "W" shape which they naturally transferred to their mythical beings. Not far away was the Martian North pole star, Delta Cephei, which is a variable star. Its changing brightness was likened to the breathing of a Sleeper. Nebulae such as the Orion Nebula were likened to wounds suffered in some battle.

However, centuries before human explorers arrived the supernova known as Tycho's Star occurred just above Cassiopeia, looking to Martians like an opened eye. From their point of view, the Sleeper was awake, Old Grabby or a relative had found them, and they were doomed. Effectively their entire culture committed suicide.

The Q and the Grey

"The Q and the Grey" is the 11th episode of the third season of Star Trek: Voyager, the 53rd episode overall. This is a science fiction television episode of the Star Trek franchise, that aired on UPN in 1996, featuring John de Lancie as the alien Q.

The Q character debuted with the Star Trek: The Next Generation and was also featured in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This episode further explores this type of alien being, and its dealings with USS Voyager, with a focus on its Captain Janeway.

The Star (Clarke short story)

"The Star" is a science fiction short story by English writer Arthur C. Clarke. It appeared in the science fiction magazine Infinity Science Fiction in 1955 and won the Hugo Award in 1956. It is collected in Clarke's book of short stories The Other Side of the Sky, and was later reprinted in the January 1965 issue of Short Story International as the lead-off story for that issue.

Time Crash

"Time Crash" is a mini-episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on 16 November 2007, as part of the BBC One telethon for the children's charity Children in Need. Written by Steven Moffat, it starred David Tennant and Peter Davison as the Doctor.The episode, set during the last scene of the previous episode "Last of the Time Lords", depicts a humorous encounter between the Doctor's fifth and tenth incarnations, played by Davison and Tennant respectively. "Time Crash" was praised by critics who reviewed the episode, and was a ratings success; it was the most-viewed show of the night, and briefly the most-viewed episode of Doctor Who since 2005, with 11 million viewers.

Total Recall (1990 film)

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, and Michael Ironside. The film is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale".

The film tells the story of a construction worker who suddenly finds himself embroiled in espionage on Mars and unable to determine if the experiences are real or the result of memory implants. It was written by Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill, and Gary Goldman, and won a Special Achievement Academy Award for its visual effects. The original score, composed by Jerry Goldsmith, won the BMI Film Music Award.

With a budget of $50–65 million, Total Recall was one of the most expensive films made at the time of its release, although estimates of its production budget vary and whether it ever actually held the record is not certain.

Astronomical locations in fiction
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Other systems
Other astronomical objects
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