troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Star Killing

Maj. Samantha Carter: (exhales)
Col. Jack O'Neill: "Something wrong?"
Carter: "No." (beat) "I've just never ... blown up a star before."
O'Neill: "Well, they say the first one's always the hardest."
— "Exodus," Stargate SG-1

So you've got a star. Main sequence type, more or less middle of its life-cycle, nothing special. Probably has an inhabited planet or two orbiting it. Of course, the Evil (Space!) Empire wants the people on the planet(s) dead. They could just carpet bomb the planet or maybe even blow it up, but instead they decide to go for broke. When a faction or character goes Star Killing they go about ending a star's life in any of a variety of ways that dooms all life in the system to a Class X-2 Apocalypse How.

On the "soft" end of the scale, the sun may have the equivalent of food coloring added, changing the visible spectrum (and radiation) it emits, killing or weakening all life and/or sentients. This is the equivalent of changing Earth's sun from power granting yellow to kryptonite green for Superman.

Next up is poisoning the sun such that it ages several billion years, depleting its hydrogen content and making it a cold dwarf star; or making it impossible for it to conduct hydrogen fusion, resulting in an atypical supernova. Of course, the bad guys might somehow apply enough firepower to literally blow up the sun (or cause it to go supernova). Lastly, they might somehow collapse it into a singularity (again, atypical for the mass of many suns) or simply shoot the singularity into the star and have it get eaten from the inside out.

Interestingly, whatever means are used to kill the star might not harm any other stellar body it's aimed at. This is especially true for the "fusion-stopping" type poisons. If this poisoning takes long enough, the heroes may be able to apply an Magic Antidote, administer life-saving Solar CPR, or use an extremely powerful World-Healing Wave on the star. See also Unrealistic Black Hole.

Interesting: even though immediate aging of a star is extremely unlikely, it is theoretically possible to increase the speed a normals star ages with. Most matter of a star is usually hydrogen/helium mixture, and most time of star's lifecycle it burns hydrogen into helium. However, a tiny part of star's mass consist of carbon-nitrogen-oxygen, that transforms into each other in CNO-cycle, catalysing (i.e. accelerating) burning of hydrogen. So, dump enough of carbon (and/or) nitrogen (and/or) oxygen into an average star and it probably will age faster AND burn hotter. The effect won't be immediate, though. The mixing of star matter is slow, and distribution of additions will take many years, maybe even ages.

It is also theorised, that there are catalysts that can work faster or catalyse proton decay, that will work faster in same way. And, if you talk about a civilisation able to manipulate black holes, then by launching a small one into a star it can create an unusual object: a black hole in a dense cocoon of plasma, that will glow incredibly hot.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Gall Force, a Lensman Arms Race results in the "system destroyer", which can trigger a supernova.
  • Ostensibly, Cell from Dragon Ball Z had the power to do this. Of course, a bit of Power-Scaling and we reach the conclussion that Gohan can do exactly the same, seeing as he was able to utterly obliterate Cell the same way he tried to destroy the Solar System.

    Comicbooks 
  • In the Green Lantern installment of Final Night, the Sun-Eater was killing Earth's sun, Hal Jordan does a Heroic Sacrifice that saves it and restores the damage. In the process, it shone green for a day.
  • In All-Star Superman: Solaris the Tyrant Sun turns the sun red in order to strip Superman of his powers. Later, the sun turns blue and it's revealed that Solaris poisoned the sun. Superman seemingly sacrifices himself in order to fix the sun.
  • An early issue of Marvel's Epic Illustrated includes a story about an attempt to tap energy directly from the core of the Earth's sun. This goes horribly wrong, causing the sun to go nova.
  • A key moment in The Dark Phoenix Saga has the title character eat a star. The result is a supernova that kills 5 billion people.
  • Excalibur #50 has Phoenix and and Necrom in a rapidly-escalating battle in Space that starts by throwing asteroids at each other, but they're destroying stars. Phoenix realizes that at the rate things are escalating, it won't be long before they destroy the universe, so instead she allows Necrom to absorb her power and thus kills him via Phlebotinum Overload.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the Mass Effect fanfic Inglorious Boshtets, the plot is kicked off by Tali's aggressively stupid crewmate Prazza accidentally using a mineral scanner on a nearby star and causing it to go supernova, causing a Negative Space Wedgie and sending Tali and her crew back in time to 2005 Earth.
    • In the sequel, Project Gethinator, Admiral Daro'Xen is revealed to have gotten her hands on a copy of the mineral scanner that Prazza used to blow up that sun in Bosh'tets, and when Shepard turns down her advances in the final chapter, she utterly loses it, turning said scanner on the star of Eta Carinae to make it go hyper-nova in a mad bid to destroy Shepard, Tali and the entire Normandy crew.
  • In HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, Dumbledore faggarts suns and sqewers them atwixt his fagpole. By the thousand!

    Film 

    Literature 
  • The Larry Niven short story "The Fourth Profession". The Monks are a species of alien traders who travel from star to star. Normally they travel using light sails pushed by launching lasers built by intelligent races in the systems they visit. If there's no intelligent race in a system or the race refuses to build a launching laser for them, they use a device on their ship to make the system's star go nova and use that for propulsion.
  • The Sun Crusher from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, a superweapon that does to stars what the infamous Death Star did to planets.
  • In "For White Hill" by Joe Haldeman, hostile aliens make Earth's sun go nova. The plot is about making a memorial for Earth.
  • Because Science Marches On, modern fanfiction for The Night Land generally treats the death of the sun in the Back Story as artificial instead of natural.
  • In the Galactic Center series by Gregory Benford it is implied that the mechs are the cause behind a number of recent novas.
  • In the Revelation Space books, the Inhibitors "sing" Delta Pavonis apartnote  in order to destroy the local human colony: having already wiped out one species native to the system millennia ago, they're determined to do the job for good this time. It's also offhandedly mentioned that they know fifteen different ways to destroy a dwarf star.
    • Not only do they kill the star, but they do so by first building a gigantic machine to take apart the system's gas giant, then use the material they recovered from that to produce the star-killing weapon - which is so large and so massive that a character notes it shouldn't even be possible for it to exist without collapsing in on itself. When they fire their weapon at the star, it doesn't just kill the star - it turns it into a astronomically huge Flamethrower.
  • A novel by Barrington J. Bayley included a weapon which worked by eliminating all of the electrons in a star, thereby rendering fusion impossible. A star hit by the weapon would lose 1/1400 of its mass and instantly go out.
    • This is rather unrealistic, in that the electrons “disappear”. In reality a collapsing star can cause such pressure that protons and electrons are annihilated into neutrons and neutrino. The star does not lose mass (neutrinos are pretty much massless), but will lose almost all of its volume. A way to force this would be a way to effectively kill a star. It would be collapsed into a single tiny sphere (smaller than an asteroid) with all the mass of the star. Any planets around that star would subsequently freeze. Gravity is unaffected as the star's mass has not changed.
  • The Star Trek Expanded Universe novel trilogy The Q Continuum suggests the supernova that destroyed the homeworld of the Tkon Empire (as seen in the TNG episode "The Last Outpost") was caused by an omnipotent being that Q unleashed. This would answer the question of why a technologically advanced civilization with the power to move entire star systems could have been taken by surprise by a supernova.
  • The Ascendants in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch have a weapon capable of destroying stars, as seen in Worlds of Deep Space Nine: The Dominion.
  • An appendix to Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas summarises the vast interstellar war the novel was set in, with a casual mention that among the tally of destruction was six stars. In a later book, we learn that one of them harboured an inhabited planet.
  • The "iron-bombing" of Moscow's star in Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross. Not an "iron bomb" in the USAF sense of the word, the process involves sending the target star's core into a Pocket Dimension with a vastly accelerated time flow. As quintillions of years pass in the mini-universe, the superheated hydrogen cools and eventually transmutes through quantum tunneling into a solid iron crystal. When the now-shrunken core is returned to the center of the star, the outer layers fall toward it, bounce off (iron doesn't like to be fused) and rebound explosively. The entire process is a fair approximation of what actually occurs in a Type II supernova (apart from the pocket dimension, anyway).
  • In the final Lensman novel of E. E. “Doc” Smith, Children of the Lens, the sun of the Ploor system is destroyed by firing a planet from another universe whose intrinsic velocity is always faster than light into the star.
  • The Lone Power of the Young Wizards series can both cause a star to suddenly stop radiating light (by presumably supernatural means), and also cause a star to go nova (by presumably more scientific means). This gives It one of Its many names, "Star Snuffer".
  • Life, the Universe, and Everything has at the heart of the plot a bomb that would cause every sun in the universe to go supernova at once, resulting in complete annihilation.
  • In Down The Bright Way by Robert Reed, the UnFound are wiped out on each separate Earth via star killing. Since the UnFound inhabit every planet, and thousands upon thousands of asteroids and comets in each Earth's solar system, making the sun burn away most of its mass in a miniature supernova becomes the most effective way to kill the UnFound.
  • The aliens that live inside stars described in Frederik Pohl's novel The World at the End of Time have the nasty habit of attacking each other, causing the stars where they live to go nova without any regards to the people that could live in the planets orbiting them, as occurred with the humans on Earth. However, it does not totally qualify since the affected stars "heal" after some millennia.
  • Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness has The Hammer That Smashes Suns. In addition to its star-killing powers, it's one of the few weapons that's truly effective against a God.
  • Happens completely by accident in Randall Garrett's short story "Time Fuze." Humanity invents an FTL engine that, as a side-effect, induces a supernova in the system's local star. They don't find out about this until they reach their destination... and on their return trip, they discover that they accidentally blew up our own sun as well.
  • Perry Rhodan has the occasional weapon or plot device that can do this — including but far from limited to the subtly-named "Death Satellite" whose thankfully comparatively slow attempts to destroy our sun and unassailable position within the sun's atmosphere itself prompt the time travel shenanigans of the Cappin arc in the first place —, as well as at least one species of what amounts to hyperSpace-dwelling animals that drain stars of their energy to feed and cause supernovae in order to reproduce. (The latter aren't even really aware of what they're doing because their senses no longer extend into 'normal' Spacetime and wouldn't be intelligent enough to care anyway.) Needless to say, when such things appear or get used, everybody sits up and takes notice.
  • In the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel The Last Stand, a pre-warp civilization is on the verge of being destroyed by their ancient enemies (also pre-warp). As a last resort, they have been working on a doomsday device that would cause their star to go nova. The device? A warp field generator placed within "one Cochrane radius" (as Picard put it) of the star. It's safe to say that this novel is the only place where this concept it used, especially since we see many times ships warping from and to a star's corona.
  • In the Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton there is a star-killer called the "Neutronium Alchemist" which has two modes. The "humane" setting basically shoots a small black hole into the star which slowly siphons off fusion mass: eventually absorbing the entire star but slowly enough to evacuate the system. On the other hand "violent" ends up compressing all matter that comes into contact with the weapon into neutronium, releasing lots of energy in the process. This extra energy leads to the star or gas-giant to go nova.
  • In The Killing Star, some of the survivors of an alien attempt to exterminate humanity use "absorbic bombs", which turn energy into matter. It's theorized that enough such bombs can make the sun implode.
  • In Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy series, it's revealed that the Delphons, unable to escape the oncoming Forerunner swarm (their only means of Faster-Than-Light Travel was via a Portal Network), the Delphons chose to sacrifice their entire race to allow younger races (including humanity) to evolve. How? They used the Forerunners' natural attraction to starlight to allow them to get close before triggering nova reactions in their own stars. Three million years later, humanity is spreading through the galaxy and discovers dead stars in the so-called Sleeve of Emptiness, dozens of dead systems in a roughly linear shape. A human is then imprinted with the memories of a frozen Delphon, who discovers the fate of their race (and also their status as Ancient Astronauts). It's not clear why the Delphons didn't attempt to evacuate using STL ships, as the swarm also moved at STL speeds.
    • In the same novel, a Corrupt Corporate Executive nearly unleashes the Forerunners on the galaxy yet again. Luckily, humans have Anti Matter technology and can use it to blow up planetoids with enough energy release to wipe out any Forerunners nearby.
  • Vasili Golovachov's novel The Devil's Fire Extinguisher involves a race of Starfish Aliens from the future using Time Travel to eliminate potential rivals by sending a device back in time that starts the process of shutting down a star. Humans receive a warning from another race facing extinction and start planning a mission into the Sun's core to stop the device from activating.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's novel Competitors, the Seekers get their hands on Matter Replicator plans for an Extinguisher, a missile capable of blowing up a star that the creators of the Platform have, for some reason, left in the station's databanks. The weapon requires a certain rare metal and must be carried by a sufficiently large ship. After replicating the Extinguisher, the Seekers mount it on their largest ship, a Prime, and threaten the people on the Platform with it. The Seekers believe that they are not in Space but are Inside a Computer System. They hope that destroying a star will cause the "game" to crash and wake everyone up. In the end, they are proven wrong, when the Seeker fleet is forced to use the Extinguisher on a star later revealed to be Rigel to escape a large Bug fleet (the Extinguisher creates a "tunnel" of sorts through the core of the star as a side effect of the explosion). Many of the smaller ships with inadequate shielding are still lost. The Bugs then communicate with the Seekers and force them to return to Platform Space by threatening Earth with an Extinguisher. One of the Seekers notes that astronauts back on Earth will be pissed at the loss of Rigel, which is used in Space navigation, but another person points out that Earth won't know about it for another 800 years, since Rigel is that far away.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the TV Series Andromeda, Commonwealth warships had a complement of 40 NovaBombs - missiles designed to destroy a star by cancelling out any gravitational forces, literally, pulling it apart and causing it to explode. In the pilot the Andromeda Ascendant uses up her entire complement canceling out a black hole's gravity.
    • A short while later, an old Commonwealth Space station is found manned by kids. Thanks to Dylan's access code, they are able to open the station's hangar, which reveals dozens of slipfighters, each of which is armed with a Nova bomb. At least one inhabited star system is blown up by the fanatical kids in a suicide run, but Dylan ends up confiscating the rest.
  • Babylon 5:
    • It's implied that the far future, but way too early, dying of our sun is caused by humanity's enemies.
    • During the Dilgar War, the Earth Alliance helped the League of Nonaligned Worlds to beat back the Dilgar forces until they had all retreated to their home system. Then the sun went nova. Word of God says that there was no natural reason for their sun to do that when it did. The obvious suspects in hindsight are the Vorlons, who are revealed during the series to have planet-killing ships in their fleet.
  • From classic Doctor Who, there's the Hand of Omega, a remote stellar manipulator that the Time Lords use to tinker with stars to make them do as they wish; in "Remembrance of the Daleks", the Doctor uses it to destroy the Skaro solar system. In New Who, the Doctor uses the energy of a supernova to talk to Rose the first time she got dumped into another dimension, although he doesn't actually say he caused it.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • "Remember that time when you blew up a sun?" An oft-referred-to incident in "Exodus" where the team basically just dropped an open Stargate (connected to some far-off world orbiting a black hole) into a star, causing a fatal instability and immediate supernova, in order to wipe out an incoming armada.
    • SG-1 also once poisoned a sun accidentally ("Red Sky") when a wormhole's trajectory passed through it and dropped superheavy elements as it passed. They (or the Asgard; they never actually clear that up) manage to fix it by the end of the episode.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a Changeling infiltrator posing as Bashir had planned on dropping a protomatter weapon into Bajor's star to wipe out a combined Klingon/Federation/Romulan taskforce (how useful that would have been in doing that is questionable, since the ships could easily go to warp, but it would wipe out Deep Space Nine and Bajor, and allow the Dominion to come out after the wake of the supernova and secure the Alpha Quadrant side of the wormhole).
    • It's been previously established that going to warp inside a solar system is a high-risk move, and reiterated within the episode itself (Kira only does it because if they don't, there won't be a solar system left.) Some novels seem to indicate that activating a warp engine too close to a star can cause serious problems for the star, which also falls under this trope, so....

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller. The Darrian race has the Star Trigger: a device that can cause a star to give off solar flares which devastate planets and destroy all electronic devices. The flares are powerful enough to affect planets in nearby solar systems. It was discovered by accident, nearly destroying one of their home systems; they have since re-created it to use as a deterrent weapon of mass destruction. Actually, they haven't - this is just a bluff.
  • StarForce Alpha Centauri. The Xenophobe race can cause stars to go nova, incinerating the planets in the system.
  • Star Fleet Battles. In one scenario a Sun Snake will approach and try to dive into a star. If it succeeds, the star will go nova.
  • The C'tan star gods in Warhammer 40,000 are Energy Beings that feed off elecromagnetic radiation released by stars. This apparently makes the star unstable, as it's implied that the deadly radition given off by the star of the Necrontyr homeworld was because of the C'tan living on it. However, if the star is eventually destroyed by the process, it takes a very long time (the Necrontyr lived with their deadly star for millenia), so it doesn't necessarily fully fit this trope.
    • A more explodey example from the same setting would be the Talismans of Vaul (aka the Blackstone Fortresses), six gigantic Space stations equipped with Wave Motion Guns designed to rip a hole between reality and the Warp. Just one of these things is capable of seriously hurting the largest starships (and even planets), but they were intended to work together to destroy stars. Well, star god-infested stars at least (the C'tan are vulnerable when it comes to the Warp).
    • This is mentioned as something the Eldar could do at the height of their interstellar empire.
    "The very stars once lived and died at our command, yet you still dare to oppose our will?"
  • Dark Nova. One of the weapons mentioned in the history section is a nova bomb used to destroy a star by causing it to go nova. The developers have revealed that these WMDs will appear in their second expansion WAR!, and actually come in two models- one that uses a super-sized antigravity generator to remove the effects of gravity, causing the star to explode, and another that dumps a tremendous amount of a hyper-dense derivative of iron called turine into the star, causing the rebound effect.

    Videogames 
  • The Shivans of FreeSpace wind up destroying the Capella system in a massive supernova at the end of the second game. Well over a decade after the games' release and the franchise's abandonment, there are still no clear answers as to why or how they accomplished this.
  • Galactic Civilizations II allows you to build a (painfully slow) ship that can detonate a star, and turn all planets around it into asteroid fields. Of course, it's a great example of Awesome, but Impractical.
    • The first game also allowed this to the same effect and same impracticality. The main difference is that, in the first game, the Terror Star can be upgraded to make it a mobile fortress with economy-boosting and influence-spreading effects. The sequel prevents Terror Stars from being upgraded, meaning they're defenseless unless protected by a fleet (you can set an option in the "Settings" if you want the Terror Star escort ships to run the fuck away from the explosion, although why anyone would choose not to do that is difficult to imagine).
  • In Mass Effect 2, recruiting Tali has her investigating a sun which is dying too quickly to be natural and giving off harmful radiation. Her loyalty mission confirms that dark energy is reducing the mass of the star's interior, and no-one knows who or what is responsible. It screams foreshadowing, but became an Aborted Arc - nothing came of it in the third game due to a change in writers. According to the original writer, the cause would've been revealed as the widespread use of mass-effect technology by Spacefaring civilizations, with the purpose of the Reaper cycle being to simply limit the damage by removing said civilizations every so often so the galaxy could go on without mass-effect technology seeing any use.
    • Javik reveals in Mass Effect 3 that the Protheans had a weapon that could trigger a star to supernova.
  • Supplementary material in the Halo universe reveals that the Forerunners attempted to fight The Flood with 'premature stellar collapse.'
  • In RPG Shooter: Starwish, Bamboo's sun was turned into a black hole by accident before the game. It happens again during the game, but the star killer just wants the star, and surrenders her power so the orbiting planet and its inhabitants may be saved.
  • In the Space Empires series, blowing up a star destroys everything in the system. If that's not enough, you can turn it into a black hole, which also destroys the raw materials you can use to recreate planets.
  • The indie 4X game, Star Ruler allows you to blow up stars (and anything else). It's possible to destroy a star using tens of thousands of tiny ships, or one ship that's comparable in size to the star itself. Destroying a star causes it to go supernova and quickly kill anything in the system, which usually includes your star-killer unless your shielding, armour and ship construction techs are high enough. Around a trillion health will do the trick.
  • At the end of Super Mario Galaxy, Bowser's sun, or his molten planet next to his sun (it is presented strangely), actually explodes shortly after he is defeated by Mario. The sun then causes the universe to implode, until it is recreated by the Lumas jumping into the black hole and sacrificing themselves.
  • Star Trek: Bridge Commander begins with a star suddenly going supernova. The main plot of the game involves figuring out how this happened while navigating between several sides who are both investigating the event themselves and at the same time blaming each other for causing it.
  • The first Space Quest game involves trying to stop Space Pirates from using a device meant to rejuvenate a dying star to destroy said star.
  • The Exalaser super weapon from Infinite Space is capable of causing a red giant to go supernova. It's used twice to prevent enemy fleets from pursuing the player character and his allies, each time requiring the sacrifice of a Schneizer brother.

    Webcomics 
  • In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger the Empire of the Seven Systems (the good guys FYI) used a stellar lance on the Kvrk-chk as a deterrent.
  • Homestuck: Destroying the Green Sun, a star with the mass of two universes and the source of the powers of First Guardians (and by extension Jack Noir), was one of the three means by which the kids intend to deal with how fucked up their Sburb session is; Rose Lalonde and Dave Strider travelled to the Sun with a bomb of sufficient power to destroy it with the intent of doing so. Subverted in spectacular fashion with the reveal that they were tricked into literally creating the Sun.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the Pa'anuri tend to react to the use of gravitics (which are painful to them) by snuffing out the stars of inhabited worlds where the use occurs. If prevented from doing so, they'll find a nearby undefended star and make it go supernova.

    Western Animation 

    Web Originals 
  • Starwalker: The side effect of the star step drive. It doesn't help that it turns out that stars are alive and sapient, too.


Spreading Disaster Map GraphicApocalyptic IndexThe Stars Are Going Out
Star Of BethlehemStellar IndexStar Power
Starfish RobotsSpeculative Fiction TropesStar Scraper
Humans Are UglyImageSource/Live-Action FilmsStar Trek: First Contact
Starship LuxuriousTropes in SpaceStealth in Space
Spontaneous Human CombustionTropes That Go BOOM!Strapped to a Bomb

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
59165
25