Neil DeGrasse Tyson Appeared In A Superman Story For The Nerdiest Reason

By Rudie Obias | Updated

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Superstar (no pun intended) astrophysicist and director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson has done a great many things in his career. Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and host of StarTalk to name a couple. But for such an accomplished career, will anything be better than working with Superman? I think not.

But that’s exactly what Neil deGrasse Tyson, ostensibly, got to do back in 2012 when he appeared in a Superman comic book. And it was great because it was all for the nerdiest and most scientific reason you could ever imagine.

Neil deGrasse Tyson was featured in “Superman – Action Comics Superman #14.” Not only did deGrasse Tyson make an appearance, but he also helped research the storyline featured in the issue.

DC Comics called upon his wisdom to help pinpoint Superman’s home planet Krypton and the Red Sun that it orbits. Isn’t this just so perfect? Neil deGrasse Tyson is helping the dude actually find Krypton. All the power in the world and Superman still needs to call on the nerds or a little help. Awesome.

Neil deGrasse Tyson was featured in “Superman – Action Comics Superman #14

The story figures into Superman’s origin and explores his home planet of Krypton. DeGrasse Tyson searches far and wide for a star system that would closely resemble the one described in decades of Superman comic books.

Although Krypton is fictional, a very similar star system can (or close enough) was actually found in the Universe. Neil deGrasse Tyson proposed several candidates before settling on a red dwarf star called LHS 2520, located approximately 27.1 light years from Earth.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson searches far and wide for Krypton

As part of the story, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Superman create a virtual telescope by combining observations from various telescopes around the world to view the destruction of Krypton.

Neil deGrasse Tyson chose the star LHS 2520 to be part of Superman’s home world. LHS 2520 is a red dwarf and rests at the southern constellation of Corvus. It’s a quarter of the mass of our Sun, a third its diameter, roughly half of its temperature, and is about 1% as bright. LHS 2520 is also about 27 light years away from our Milky Way Galaxy.

At the time, Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait received an advanced copy of the comic book and described deGrasse Tyson’s reasoning for making the planet of Krypton orbit LHS 2520. Plait explained, “Red supergiants don’t work; they explode as supernovae when they are too young to have an advanced civilization rise on any orbiting planets. Red giants aren’t a great fit either; they can be old, but none is at the right distance to match the storyline.”

He went on, “It would have to be a red dwarf: there are lots of them, they can be very old, and some are close enough to fit the plot.”

This was one of those exciting instances when science fiction and science fact became one awesome thing. Plus, Neil deGrasse Tyson is involved, so it makes the situation even better.

Superman – Action Comics Superman #14 was written by legendary comic book writer Grant Morrison with art by Rags Morales and Mark Propst. It will be available on November 7th 2012.