Vulcan Has No Moon
How close to Mercy Falls is that orange planet?!

Space is big. Space is very, very big. Because space is big, objects are usually very far apart. But empty skies and vast lanes of the void of space are not aesthetically pleasing. This trope is in effect when objects in space are visible in locations where they make no sense, either due to the sciencenote  or due to pre-established canonnote . Nebulae are particularly subject to this, because they can fill an otherwise black sky with color. Sometimes, the planets even appear in a sky that isn't black.

Related Tropes: Asteroid Thicket, Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale, Science Marches On (for some examples base on older information). The Mountains of Illinois is a similar Earth-bound trope. Subtrope of Space Does Not Work That Way.


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    Comic Books 

  • The Trope Namer comes from Star Trek, but we've got some ground to cover...
    The trope-naming line comes from early episode of Classic Trek — Uhura was trying to flirt with Spock, but he wasn't having any of it, and when she asked if a full moon on a "lazy evening" was romantic in Vulcan culture he simply replied that his planet didn't have a moon.
    Then came the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear", which featured a gigantic orb in the sky, despite a blistering "NO MOON!!!" memo from Roddenberry and screenwriter/continuity editor D.C. Fontana. Fans decided this was a close sister planet and named it T'Kuht, which although scientifically inaccurate at least fits into continuity. (The joke goes that when a Vulcan says his planet has no moon, the standard human response is "damn right it doesn't; it has a nightmare.") Star Trek: The Motion Picture also shows a massive "moon" in the sky, which was hastily removed in the Re-Cut.
  • In the Star Trek 2009 reboot, apparently Delta Vega is close enough for Spock Prime to witness the destruction of Vulcan without a telescope. This ends up Handwaved as a psychic vision.
  • In John Carter, Mars's moons are shown as two huge spheres in the sky that are always right next to each other. In reality, Mars's moons are extremely tiny, non-spherical (they're captured asteroids, and look rather like potatoes), and their orbital rates are so different — 2.7 days east-to-west for Deimos, 11 hours west-to-east for Phobos — they don't stay lined up together in the sky.
  • The Force Awakens is an exaggerated example: the destruction of the several inhabited planets of the Hosnian system with a First Order superweapon is clearly visible with the naked eye, from what is explicitly a different star system entirely, in real time, during the local day, without even using any psychic vision handwavium. J. J. Abrams seems to be constitutionally incapable of comprehending a universe where you cannot see every other point in it by simply looking up in the sky. The Hand Wave explanation In-Universe is that the shot of the superweapon somehow travels through Hyperspace, which just raises more questions than it answers, among them whether or not the weapon can only fire through (pre-established) "Hyperspace Highways"

    Live Action TV 
  • Blake's 7: Many exterior shots of the Liberator flying through space (e.g. in the opening titles of season one and two) feature lots of big spheres in view at the same time. And a very colorful sky.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: The opening credits run against a gorgeous but somewhat unrealistic passage of Voyager through a solar system.

    Video Games 
  • World of Warcraft: When standing on the peak of the Black Temple on Outland, while within the raid, Azeroth is clearly visible in the sky. Most notably, the Maelstrom - a gigantic, ever-spinning, logic- and physics-defying whirlpool - is the most obvious landmark. Outland is by no means visible from the other planet.
    • On the other hand, many other planets are visible and quite large on the Outland sky, often translucent and overlapping. Coupling that with various characters' remarks (such as Zephyr's comment on "time in Outland passing differently"), the reason for Dreanor becoming Outland and the fact it seems to lie directly inside the Twisting Nether, this weird astronomy might actually make some scary sense.
    • Likewise, for quite a long time, one of Azeroth's two moons was missing. They seem to have brought it back in either Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria.
  • In Spore, every planet in the star system you're currently in is visible (and quite large) from the ground of any other planet. It's even possible to see entire galaxies from the ground, looking so close you should be able to reach them with the Faster-Than-Light Travel the game allows for. Then again, the planets and stars in Spore are much smaller than real ones, so perhaps the whole universe itself is smaller than in reality and those planets and galaxies really are that close to one another.
  • This trope is taken to extreme in Darkstar One. From the Earth orbit in the Solar system you can see incredibly big Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus and Mercury. In fact, they appear larger than the Moon.
  • No Man's Sky follows this by having all the planets and moons in a system close together. This is so that travel times are reasonable, as trips from one planet to another takes several minutes as it is. However it results in worlds (and Mission markers on those worlds) being visible as long as you're looking in the right direction.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction has a continuity example: the planet Maraxus from Ratchet: Deadlocked is visible in the skies of Stratus City, when the two are in completely different galaxies.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama tends to show Mars with Earth clearly visible in the sky, and oversized moons. This is presumably Rule of Cool, as the creators would definitely know better. On the other hand, due to the use of Stock Footage, the Earth is shown rotating in the correct direction even after its rotation was reversed.
  • In 3-2-1 Penguins!, the planets the Rockhopper crew visits tend to have visible planets in their skies.
  • Several Looney Tunes shorts which has characters on Mars can see Earth in the sky.
    Porky Pig: What a funny-looking planet. I don't think I've ever seen it before.

    Real Life 
  • With a bit of Truth in Television here, red dwarf systems can act exactly like this. The star is so small that any planets in the system are extremely close to the star by necessity. The planets can also be much closer to their star than ours are to our sun, because the gravity isn't strong enough to pull them apart when they get too close (look up "Roche Limit"). It gets to the point where every planet in the system looks like a moon. Of course, tidal pressures are still at work here and a lot of these planets would be very unpleasant to live on, indeed.