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Weird Sun

The sun is a miasma of incandescent plasma. Or possibly a chariot wheel, a very large flashlight, or a two-dimensional painting on the cosmic backdrop that is the sky. Forget everything you know about Mr. Sunnote  because, in Fiction Land, it's all wrong.

Unlike Weird Moon, the occurrence of these is rarer, except in animations where they're more common.

Common oddities:
  • The Sun appears much larger in the sky than it does in real life.
  • Sun in fiction sometimes has visible rays. In real life, sunray-like effect can exist with a phenomenon called Tyndall effect. However, in fiction, rays can be present in various ways:
    • They're sector-like and cover the whole sky.
    • They're triangular and only extend within a short distance from the sun, making it have a bit of spiky appearance.
    • They have solid lines as rays, often black-colored. Also known as Solrads.
    • They leave only a few yellow or yellow-white rays even in places where the air is clear.
  • The Sun is plain yellow or orange-yellow even when it's high in the sky and showing it doesn't cause eye irritation.
  • It's getting darker already when the Sun is starting to go down to the horizon instead of getting dark some time after setting, even when it's not very cloudy.
  • Solar eclipses in fiction are never partial.
  • The Sun (and other celestial bodies) are shown to move from right to left in shows set in the Northern Hemisphere. This happens most often when stock footage of a sunset is played backwards to show a sunrise.
  • It has a face and may talk.
  • It wears sunglasses

Related to Weird Moon. A subtrope of Space Does Not Work That Way, and a supertrope of The Face of the Sun.


Examples:

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    Advertising 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Tegami Bachi, the Sun is a man-made object composed of people parts, among other things. It is STILL alive and occasionally feeds on the citizens. Yeah, it's THAT kind of world.
  • In Soul Eater, the sun has a face with a spike-like nose, a Slasher Smile, and is always laughing. Unless it's falling asleep and snoring at sunset. The moon isn't any better.
  • In Sangatsu no Lion, the sun in Chapter 5 is drawn with visible heatwaves, emphasizing how hot the summer day was in Rei's flashback with Nikaido.

     Film 
  • Most cases in films involve either Binary Suns or Alien Sky. See those trope pages for more examples.
  • The giant, dramatic sunrise in The Lion King; at least it had to be exaggerated somewhat.

    Literature 
  • In Discworld, the sun is tiny (about a mile across) and orbits the Disc faster than its light can travel through the Disc's strong magical field. And one of the elephants has to periodically cock a leg to let it go by.
    • The same in Terry Pratchett's earlier book Strata. One of the starship's computers, in an Expospeak Gag, analyses it and calls it an "external fusion reactor".
    • In Pyramids all of the many, many Djelibeybian gods become real for a short time. Since there are at least a dozen sun gods, something of a free-for-all brawl erupts where they fight it out over just who gets the make the sun move across the sky.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac wrote a story called "journey to the Sun" and "journey to the moon".
  • Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky features a planet orbiting a "On-Off Star", which follows a cycle of going completely dark for decades at a time, forcing the native species to live deep underground and hibernate for this period until a technological civilization could sustain life during the sunless period. Technically, it's not a star at all, and it's implied that the On-Off Star is the work of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • In Un Lun Dun, the UnSun is shaped like a donut. It's rumored that our sun used to be the center of the UnSun.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky, Black Sun, the sun is as described, in a white sky. It also never moves.
    • It's a Daemonworld in the Eye of Terror, tho, so not following laws of nature is expected. Some Daemonworlds have even weirder suns (such as ones that orbit the planet and scream).
  • Some of the Territories in the Pendragon series have very weird suns. One has three suns which rise and set at the same time and overlap each other at midday, another has a rising and setting band of light stretching across the whole sky. No explanation is ever given for how these systems work.
  • Karl Schroeder's Virga series takes place in a "world" where there's no gravity, but there is air, and land exists as asteroids. Small "suns" that light regions of fifteen miles or so float freely throughout; one gigantic "Sun of Suns" anchors the whole thing from the center. The whole world is artificial; the air is kept in by a giant (~3000 mile) balloon-type structure. The suns are fusion reactors.
  • One story in The Cyberiad had Klapaucius travelling to a planet orbiting a sun that was shaped like a square. The planet itself was cube-shaped.
  • In The Barsoom Project's Fimbulwinter Game, the Sun begins shrinking until a Gamer from the asteroid belt thinks it looks normal-sized. When the Gamers travel to the Inuit spirit-world to correct this, they realize that the missing Creator-spirit, Raven, has been bound to the spirit-Sun's surface.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and the other O.W.L. students have their Astronomy practical at midnight on a June evening — despite the fact that Hogwarts is in the Highlands of Scotland (it's usually reckoned to be near Dufftown in Moray), and at that latitude in June, it never gets dark enough to see any but the very brightest stars. One website claims that sunset would be at 11pm — only an hour before the start of the exam.
  • The classic SF short story Placet is a Crazy Place has the titular planet in a lemniscate (figure-8) orbit around two suns — one matter, one antimatter. This causes a shedload of weird effects.

    Live Action TV 
  • The final season of Andromeda took place in a binary star system, where the stars were artificial constructs built by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. One of the stars also had a disquieting tendency to audibly blink on and off at random times.
  • Doctor Who:
    • One episode had a cold sun. Granted, it was part of a dream.
    • One episode also had a sentient star, which can possess beings that stare into it long enough, even the Doctor.
    • And 11's first season finale had it be the TARDIS going boom, instantly, for a very long time.
  • Teletubbies has an absolutely terrifying baby-faced sun. The actual reason for the sun being that way is that it represents the toddlers and babies who are watching the program.

    Mythology 
  • In Greek Mythology the sun is the wheel of a golden chariot driven by Apollo (or Helios, depending on what version of the myth you're going by). Same with several other Indo-European solar deities, like the canaanite Shapash and the hindu Surya. Other mythologies have stranger suns; in both Egyptian and early Indian mythologies the sun god (Ra and Varuna respectively) the sun is a boat that travels across the ocean that is the sky, while in Aztec Mythology the sun is carried by winds, and requires human sacrifice for fuel.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons setting Spelljammer (D&D IN SPACE), suns have the same gravity as any Earth-like planet, and all you need to survive on the (solid) surface is a fire-resistance spell. Some even have civilizations of fire elementals living on them. (Incidentally, suns are not stars. Suns are huge balls of fire; stars are little lights stuck to the inside of the crystal shells surrounding each system.)
    • The crossover nature of Spelljammer means that Spelljammer's description of suns applies (or applied, at least, given the two editions since then) to most campaign settings, even ones where it would not otherwise come up.
    • In the Hollow World, the sun is a pinpoint gateway to the Plane of Fire, and it shut down and left the planet's interior in darkness for a week during the Wrath of the Immortals Story Arc.
    • The sun in Ravenloft looks normal enough, and works fine against vampires and the like, but travelers who actually try to reach it via spelljamming pass into the Mists rather than wildspace, suggesting it's a projection or illusion.
    • There's an arid, inhospitible setting called Dark Sun. Though this is mostly just a name; the sun there isn't markedly different from the sun in any other setting.
  • The Daystar from Exalted is an enormous dirigible made of magical metals (surrounded by burning Essence) that is filled with chambers, requires a pilot, and is brimming with weapons of mass destruction. Unless something really bad happens, in which case it may transform into a four-armed mecha. It also knows Kung Fu.
    • Ligier (Creation's sun prior to the Daystar, and current sun of Hell) is not only green, but also emits a light which does not cast shadows. He's also fully sentient and can create a humanoid form into which he can place a portion of his consciousness to be in multiple places at once.
    • Solars are cursed to become insane over the long run. When the Sidereal realized this, they tried to peer into three different kind of futures: one where the Solars are overthrown, one where the Solars are reformed, and one where nothing was to be done about the Solars. When they tried to peer at that last one, they saw Creation have become a blasted wasteland with a pale sun hanging in a shattered sky. They freaked out, and near-unanimously took the first course of action.
    • In Return of the Scarlet Empress, should the Unconquered Sun die, the Daystar becomes large and red, and the Holy keyword stops working. The flavour indicates that this happens because the Daystar's sentience is...annoyed that something has happened to its beloved master.
  • The Tyrant Star in Warhammer 40,000, which may or may not be an Eldritch Abomination.
  • In Magic: The Gathering the artificial plane of New Phyrexia (formerly Mirrodin) has five suns, one for each color of mana (white, blue, red, green and black.) Each sun allows very powerful spells of that color to be cast at their zenith. (These are represented by the cards White Sun's Zenith, Blue Sun's Zenith, Red Sun's Zenith, Green Sun's Zenith and Black Sun's Zenith.)

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • In Super Mario Bros. 3, the sun is an enemy that can be killed with a Koopa Shell.
    • Wario Land 3 has a similar enemy that can't be killed who spits out fireballs.
    • And in Super Mario Galaxy, the final boss battle against Bowser takes place inside a hollow sun.
    • Paper Mario 64 has a stranger one, the (or possibly "a") sun is at the top of a relatively short tower with a diameter of less than 12' and has an owl like face. It's bummed because the clouds that the Koopa Troop have spread over Flower Fields keep him from bringing light to the place.
  • The Kirby series has a weird sun which orbits around the roughly pentagram-shaped planet. One of the bosses is a sun that follows the circle-with-short-triangular-rays design.
  • A cartoonish sun is found in Loco Roco series. It has a face.
  • Disgaea 2 has an extra series of hidden Harder Than Hard challenges where the "Dark Sun" screws things up for you and your party. You can have your characters attempt to destroy it with a suicide attack if it gets too annoying.
  • The Lylat system from Star Fox 64 has a weird sun. There are firebirds and lava-snakes living inside it. All promotional information stated that Solar was not the star of the system, but a planet. Although this could go back to the whole "all objects are planets in Japanese" problem.
  • In the Futurama Licensed Game, the sun is merely unpleasantly warm and covered with lava, and has an Aztec Expy society living on it.
  • Minecraft has a rather large square-shaped sun. (Texture packs can change it to whatever the player wants.)
  • The sun in The Elder Scrolls is the same as the stars, only much bigger: a hole in reality to Aetherius. It shares a name with the God of Magic, because (so the myths say, anyway) it was his escape from reality that created it.
  • The Sun in Digital Devil Saga isn't just weird, it's also the capital-G God and an afterlife of some sort. And it's deeply angered by the humans, he turns everything touched by his ray into stone. In fact, you have to fight him to earn his forgiveness.
  • The world of Nier doesn't have a sun. It used to, but not anymore. There's still sunlight, somehow, but no sun. It's one more sign of how seriously fucked up the world has become.

    Webcomics 
  • In Our Little Adventure, the sun and moon have faces and occasionally make quips about what's going on down at ground level. They transform into one another at dawn and dusk rather than rising or setting.

    Web Original 
  • Smosh has a video where they theorize what would happen if the stuff that occured on children's television could be found in real life. They react with exuberant panic at the teletubbies; more specifically, the giggling sun.
  • In the Madness Series, the sun turns into a mook. Hank kills it; the sky goes black for 2/3 of the series. SLIGHTLY justified in that somebody pressed the Insanity Button.
  • The Sun in Homestar Runner is shaped like an octagon. And in one Teen Girl Squad cartoon, the Sun turns into a circular saw.
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-1548, the so-called "Hateful Star". Basically, it's a sentient star that exists at the heart of the Crab Nebula, thousands of light years away. It is slowly but surely moving towards Earth, and vocally expresses its intent to destroy us all through Morse code. It poses no immediate threat and probably won't do so for several thousand more years, but unfortunately, there's no way to stop it so when it gets to us, it will likely cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • In Aelan mythology from Ustal Naror islands, each sun lives only one day and they are clouds.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama, the Sun is just a planet. A very, very hot planet with Sun aliens living on it and rivers of fire and stuff, but just a planet. In the video game, Fry declares that he can't do this level because he burns easily. There's even a Show Within a Show based on the Sun: The Real World: The Sun.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: The Sun has nothing to do with atomic energy. It is powered by a lightbulb below its surface. It is hot enough to melt metal, but leaves human beings and dogs unharmed.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: It's a scientific fact that if you destroy reality, the Sun shrinks down to the size of a dinner plate, and is edible.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of I Am Weasel. Weasel tries (and ultimately succeeds) in preventing I.R. Baboon from taking a night-time mission flight to the sun. At the end of the episode, it's shown that the sun is inhabited by baboons that had crash-landed there.
  • The ending of an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has some old guy who is immortal crash-land into the sun. Humorously enough, when he tries to sell his books on how to live longer, the sun-people (Essentially sentient fireballs) accidentally keep burning said books to a crisp.
  • In Ben 10, one of the protagonist's forms is from a species that can live on a sun.
  • On The Simpsons, Mr. Burns is able to block out all of the sun's light from Springfield simply by raising a satellite dish thingy at the edge of town. Possibly justified in that said dish was shown as being almost as big as the zone from which the sunlight was blocked.
  • Similarly, an episode of The Powerpuff Girls had a villain blocking the sun by launching a giant disco ball into space.
  • On Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko, Filbert, and Heffer have to find a way to light a light bulb for a science project, and end up building a machine (consisting of Heffer's mouth and a bunch of potato chips) so powerful that it "sucks up" light energy from everywhere—including the sun, showing that the sun is indeed a flaming solid ball, not a gaseous one.
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever", Stan Smith trips over a cable in God's office and the screen goes black. God tells Stan he's just unplugged the sun.
  • The sun on The Secret Show is powered by a furnace in its core, and can be turned on and off with a remote control.
  • On the Jumanji cartoon, the world of Jumanji had a fake sun. It was a small metal sphere hanging in the sky covered in mirrors and fire-shooting holes.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: The sun has the face of a jack-o-lantern.
  • Hercules has a slightly modified version of the one in Greek Mythology: instead of being a wheel of Apollo's chariot it's a roughly house-sized sphere.
  • In lapine folklore of Watership Down, the sun is Frith, the supreme creator-deity, who'd crafted the world from his droppings. The opening sequence uses a highly-stylized Art Shift to represent Frith and his surroundings.
  • The sun from Rock-A-Doodle for some reason changes from a realistic Sun when seen from outer space, to an anthropomorphic sun when seen from Chanticleer's farm. And the sun (whose rising and setting is constantly controlled by Chanticleer) will occasionally go against his rules and rise on its own.
  • In Gargoyles, the eponymous beings face the sun as it rises, and turn to stone as soon at its direct light strikes them. But somehow, they also manage to face the sun when it sets...
  • In an episode of The Angry Beavers, the beavers have been sent on a mission to the sun as disposable lab animals (not explorers, like they originally thought.) After watching a video (conveniently titled, "So You're Spiraling Into the Sun"), they stop the pull of the sun's gravity by creating a dam of space debris, just as they would dam a river.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, like other Animate Inanimate Objects, the sun is a minor character who spends most of its time in the sky smiling all the time (unless something of notice comes near him). He can also travel around the world at high speeds and sleeps when night comes. He also gets mooned by the equally animated moon, who has arms, legs, and visible buttocks.
  • As far as we can tell, the sun in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is the good old ball o' plasma we know and love... but it doesn't seem to work like ours do. Instead of gravity keeping it orbiting around the planet its magically controlled by a Physical God pony princess while her sister controls the moon. Two widely accepted fanon theories are that either Equestria is located in a geocentric system and the sun is very small, or the princesses control the planet's rotation. Before them, unicorns kept the sun and moon on the right path. One wonders who did it before they existed. In the Season 4 starter "Princess Twilight Sparkle", when both Celestia and Luna are out of action the sun only illuminates half the sky over Equestria. The other half is night, complete with moon...

    Real Life 
  • A crowd of thousands on October 13, 1917 in Fátima, Portugal was reported in the newspapers to have seen the sun behaving strangely for ten minutes: The sun emerged from clouds as an opaque, spinning disk or a "firewheel," looking duller than normal, which cast multicolored lights across the landscape and clouds. Then it careened toward earth in a zigzag pattern, radiating heat and frightening the observers. The faithful associated this phenomenon with the apparitions of the Virgin Mary that had been occurring in Fátima that year. Not all witnesses reported seeing the sun dance; some only saw the radiant colors.
  • In 2010 in China, an atmospheric mirage caused the appearance of two suns in the sky, Tatooine-style. Also sundogs, where a pair of bright reflections appear beside the sun, giving the impression to three suns in the sky.
  • There was an eccentric/nutcase interviewed on The BBC in the 1970s who was convinced the Sun was a cold body and that its perceived heat was the result of an electrical interaction with the Earth. Or something.
  • A pre-Socratic philosopher named Anaxagoras believed that the Sun was not a god, but a large ball of incandescent metal about the size of the Peloponnese. In Athens, this amounted to blasphemy, and he had to leave town in a hurry.
  • Planets have been found orbiting pulsars. You're not going to find a weirder sun to orbit than that.
    • Except maybe PH1, a planet orbiting a binary pair orbiting a binary pair. It therefore has a total of four suns, one yellow, one white, one red, and one orange.
    • Especially weird when you consider the first discovered star system with extrasolar planets was a pulsar system. They found it in 1992. The first confirmed exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star, 51 Pegasi b, was only discovered three years later, in 1995. Though in all honesty, the astronomers who discovered the pulsar system couldn't make a 100% sure statement about it having planets until 2007, when it was finally confirmed it had three exoplanets of its own, formed under unusual circumstances.
    • Considering the sheer amount of radiation the pulsars emit, the chances of anyone watching them are small.
    • And that is an artist's depiction, which took certain liberties with the appearance of a pulsar. For example, those purple magnetic field lines should be invisible, and any orbiting planet's atmosphere would have been blown away by the preceding supernova — so you'd never see an overpowered aurora by being in orbit around a neutron star.
      • A supernova destroys any and all original planets. Pulsar planets are formed anew from fresh supernova wreckage. That's why they are speculated to hold motherlodes of heavy and radioactive metals.
  • Try looking at the sun during certain cloudy days with the clouds acting as a filter. Pretty neat, isn't it?
  • In the far future the Sun will become a Red Giant, engulfing and destroying Mercury, Venus, and -possibly- the Earth. Imagine a huge, bloated red Sun filling nearly all the sky and giving so much heat that Earth's surface has become a magma ocean.
  • A curious fact about the Sun (as well as other stars) is that it burns quite slowly. As described in The Other Wiki its power output per unit of volume in the center is comparable to that generated by metabolism; if it has a power output so big is because of its humongous size. Plus, except for neutrinos that are not affected by matter, energy produced in the core needs -at least- millennia to reach the Sun's surface. Related to the latter is the fact that Red dwarfs (no, not that one) are so long-lived not only due to their low luminosities but also because they're entirely convective and have access to all of their hydrogen. In our Sun, only the outermost layers are convective, so it cannot fuse all of its hydrogen as less massive stars can (unless when it's about to go Red Giant someone manages a way to add fresh hydrogen to the core).
  • As long as planets and whatnot are far enough away, they can have stable orbits around a black hole. Due to gravitational lensing, however, this would look pretty strange. This (not-to-scale) gif shows what it would be like if Earth revolved around a black hole (which, of course, it does not and never will.)
  • The kingdom of the stars is full with examples of weird suns. Just among bona-fide starsnote  you have from huge red supergiant stars that were in the place of the Sun would extend almost to the orbit of Saturn to red dwarfs just as large as Jupiter, from hot, blue stars that have millions of times (and even more) the Sun's luminosity to red dwarfs thousands of times (or even less) less luminous, and from some "Wolf-Rayet" stars with the size of the Sun or less but of extremely hot surface (hundreds of thousands of Kelvins) to -again- the red dwarfs, with surface temperatures half or less that of the Sun. This without including things such as stars covered in (sometimes huge) starspots, yellow hypergiant stars that shed mass so prodigiously that are actually a kind of shroud surrouding a much hotter star, and all of this without including binary stars, where the components are so close that they distort mutually, exchange matter, and even are in contact.


Watching the SunsetHeliotropes    
Weird MoonSpace Does Not Work That Way    
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Weird MoonArtistic License - Astronomy    

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