Comic Book Science Fact Check: Neil deGrasse Tyson Locates Krypton; Does the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier Fail at Physics?
Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 by Angie Han
Some of the science fiction in superhero tales really seems more like pure fantasy — the Hulk and Spider-Man’s origin stories come to mind — but then there are other aspects of the stories that seem more believably rooted in reality. That’s the idea, anyway.
After the jump, read about two attempts to introduce a little more science into the fiction: In an upcoming issue of Action Comics, real-life astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shows up to help Superman find his home planet Krypton, and in an episode of the webseries Fact or Fictional, Veronica Belmont discusses the plausibility of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier from The Avengers.
Tyson, who always seems to show up whenever there’s bad pop culture science in need of debunking, was called upon by DC Comics to pinpoint the exact location of Krypton. The scientist determined that the planet is located 27.1 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Corvus, and orbits the red dwarf star LHS 2520. Here are the exact coordinates of LHS 2520, if you’re curious to see Krypton’s sun:
Right Ascension: 12 hours 10 minutes 5.77 seconds
Declination: -15 degrees 4 minutes 17.9 seconds
Proper Motion: 0.76 arcseconds per year, along 172.94 degrees from due north
The deed earned Tyson an appearance in Action Comics #14, which hit shelves this week. Get a taste of “Star Light, Star Bright” below:
“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 statement. “And it’s clear that if he weren’t a superhero he would have made quite an astrophysicist.”
Meanwhile, Belmont at Fact or Fictional wondered whether the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier could feasibly take off, and called upon scientist Phil Plait to get his opinion. Could an aircraft carrier that massive really fly through the sky? Is its cloaking technology in our near future? Is any of this even worth the trouble even if it is possible? Watch the video below to get the verdict: