Look, up in the sky! Astrophysicist locates Krypton on a star map

Contributed by
Jan 14, 2013

Ever wonder where in the sky the planet Krypton might be located? Well, wonder no more, because a famous American astrophysicist has pinpointed exactly where Superman's birthplace lies.

According to Discover, DC Comics asked Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium and a leading expert on all things space-related, to come up with a real-life location for Krypton for this week's issue of Action Comics (#14 in the "New 52" paradigm for those keeping count at home). All we've previously known is that Krypton orbits a red star named Rao, but there are lots of different kinds of red stars out there in the universe.

Tyson went to work and came up with a winner: a red dwarf labeled LHS 2520, about 27 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation of Corvus. The star is pretty weak: it's only about 1 percent as bright as our sun, a third of its diameter, and a quarter of its mass. It's also about half the temperature of our beloved star—meaning that its surface temperature would be somewhere around minus 270 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, the Kryptonians would have to be super-resistant to cold or really bundle up every time they stepped outside

(Didn't Krypton in the original 1978 Superman movie look kind of icy? Maybe those filmmakers were onto something without even knowing it.)

In any case, a red dwarf is still the only red star that would work: red supergiants explode too early for civilizations to form, and while a red giant could fit the bill, there weren't any in the vicinity that fit DC's needs. The issue features Superman coming to the Hayden Planetarium to observe Krypton—and seeing as he's 27 years old in this particular arc, and Krypton is 27 light-years away, we can sort of guess what event he's trying to catch a glimpse of.

Action Comics #14 is out this Wednesday if you want to check it out. In the meantime, however, it's somehow reassuring to know that we have finally found the spot in the heavens that sent us Superman.