Krypton Discovered: Neil Degrasse Tyson Pinpoints Superman’s Home Planet

A superhero of astrophysics has helped DC Comics find Kal-El's home.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Cover illustration of the comic book Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of Superman, June 1938.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has pinpointed a real location for Superman’s fictional home planet of Krypton.

Tyson was approached by DC Comics to help make an upcoming storyline for the Man of Steel scientifically accurate. “Originally, we just planned to ask him for help in making the science realistic, but when we spoke to him on the phone, he also asked if we’d like him to find a real-life star that could be Krypton’s,” writer Sholly Fisch told the Washington Post. “Since we’re not fools, [editor Wil Moss] and I immediately said, ‘Sure!’” The story, titled “Star Light, Star Bright,” which is drawn by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story, comes out in the new issue of Action Comics on Wednesday.

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Tyson, who serves as the director of the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium in New York City, was happy to help. “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 in a press release. “And it’s clear that if he weren’t a superhero, he would have made quite an astrophysicist.”

Tyson determined that the “real” Krypton is in the Corvus constellation, about 27.1 light years from Earth, orbiting the red dwarf star LHS 2520. The star, which is smaller and cooler than our sun, can be seen at right ascension 12 hours, 10 minutes, 05.60 seconds, and declination 15 degrees, 04’ 15.66. According to the New York Daily News, that means that the light from Krypton’s destruction would be reaching Earth right around now.  “Now fans will be able to look up at the night’s sky and say, ‘That’s where Superman was born,’ “ Dan DiDio, the DC Entertainment co-publisher, said in a statement.

Tyson, a TIME 100 honoree and prolific presence on Twitter, is no stranger to pop culture appearances. Not only is he the host of the PBS show Nova Science Now, but he talked film director James Cameron into altering the night sky in a re-release of the movie Titanic to reflect how the constellations actually appeared on the night the unlucky ship sank. Now the astrophysicist himself will also get to make a cameo appearance in the Action Comics issue he consulted on. Krypton can keep Superman, we’re happy with Neil Degrasse Tyson.

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