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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson helps Superman find Krypton

Action Comics #14

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is famed as host of PBS’s NOVA scienceNOW and as a frequent guest on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. But as of this week, he’ll also be known as the man who located Krypton.

In a story called “Star Light, Star Bright” in Action Comics #14, which goes on sale Wednesday, Tyson himself helps Superman find his homeworld on the last day of its existence.

“As a native of Metropolis, I was delighted to help Superman, who has done so much for my city over all these years,” Tyson said. “And it’s clear that if he weren’t a superhero he would have made quite an astrophysicist.”

In reality, using information provided by DC Comics, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History did pinpoint a red dwarf star capable of supporting of Krypton-like planet in the constellation Corvus — 27.1 light years from Earth. The star can be seen at right ascension 12 hours, 10 minutes, 05.60 seconds, and declination 15 degrees, 04’ 15.66.

“This is a major milestone in the Superman mythos that gives our Super Hero a place in the universe,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio. “Having Neil deGrasse Tyson in the book was one thing, but by applying real world science to this story he has forever changed Superman’s place in history. Now fans will be able to look up at the night’s sky and say – ‘that’s where Superman was born.’”

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Comments

12 Comments

That’s cool, but I don’t think Tyson hosts Nova scienceNOW anymore. David Pogue has been hosting all the episodes so far this season.

I’m all in favor of consulting scientists to ground fiction in reality as much as possible.

Ha ha this is awesome.

I wouldn’t agree that grounding fiction in reality as much as possible is the way to go, sandwich eater. I prefer small doses of reality in fiction. Besides, let’s not forget Grounded didn’t work out for Superman :)
But this news is definitely very very cool.

This is incredibly cool and incredibly geeky. And the sort of thing that I expect from the underrated Sholly Fisch.

If only Neil would relent about Pluto not being a planet.

In Action Comics #489 (1978), Brainiac forces the Bronze Age Superman to watch the explosion of Krypton when the light of the explosion finally reaches Earth decades after Krypton’s death, and Kal’s arrival on Earth.

Now, in the 1970s, Superman was depicted as being (eternally) 29 years old. In addition, he arrived on Earth “days” after Krypton’s explosion when he was a toddler about 2 years old (his spaceship traveled through a space war0). Hence, roughly 27 years had presumably passed between Krypton’s explosion and its light arriving at Earth. In other words, Krypton was about 27 light years from Earth in that story, the same distance as this red dwarf star.

Sound like Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Julie Schwartz got it right 34 years ago!

That’s “his spaceship traveled through a space warp” [to get to Earth], not “space war0″.

Oh dear, is Dr. Tyson following Michio Kaku into the media self-promotion vortex? Hopefully not

Elliot Maggin established which star Krypton orbited around in one of his Superman novels (“Last Son of Krypton” & “Miracle Monday”). Antares, I think? I don’t remember it ever becoming canon in the comics, but Maggin did import some elements of his novels into Superman comics that he wrote & vice versa, so it may have turned up there. (I honestly couldn’t tell you how astronomically probable that choice of star could be.)

Scott McCloud did a version of that old Cary Bates story when he wrote the Animated tie-in book. It was kind of the antithesis of Bates in that McCloud portrayed it as an understated disappearance of the light (whereas Bates had it as this cataclysmic event all across Earth… and I think doused Superman with red-sun radiation or something? It was the Supermobile story…)

This is spectacular. Tyson is my idol as an astronomer, and Grant Morrison is my idol as a comic book writer. Awesome.

Forget Pluto. Pluto is weak!

That’s cool. And this is just one more reason I love Morrison’s Action Comics.

This is one of the most awesome things I’ve seen in months!

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