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Apocalypse How / Class X-2

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Apocalypse How
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X | X-2 | X-3 | X-4 | X-5 | Z

Rachel: What happened?
Seventh Doctor: I programmed the Hand of Omega to fly into Skaro's sun and turn it supernova.
Gilmore: Super what?
Allison: He blew it up.

Stellar-scale Physical Annihilation. You know that big ball of hydrogen/helium fusion and the bunch of rocks that used to circle it? Yeah, they ain't here no mo'. This usually happens due to that particular fusion ball doing something unpleasant like going supernova.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • The final Kamehameha Cell launches has enough power to destroy the entire solar system. Since he's derived from, and is at that point many orders of magnitude stronger than, a being that can both survive in the vacuum of space and live through a planetary explosion, it seems like he could pull it off.
    • In one of the movies, Broly went on a rampage and destroyed countless stellar systems in the South Galaxy, nearly obliterating it entirely, making it a case of a class X-2.5, way above a single Class X-2, but not quite enough to reach Class X-3.
  • Galaxy Express 999 has the metallic humanoids who blow up the Sun to eliminate the Earth because they hate and fear humans. Fortunately there are still many human colonies across the galaxy, and they are all extremely pissed.
  • Gall Force featured the System Cannon, a Wave-Motion Gun disguised as a Planet. Its primary purpose was, after the enemy was lured into its system, to would fire at its own star, blowing the entire system to space dust. Considering that its destruction formed our Asteroid Belt, perhaps it's for the best that it didn't hit the target.
  • In Remina, one of the early warning signs that the titular "planet" Remina could be a problem is that nearby stars start disappearing.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Dark Phoenix Saga, Dark Phoenix recharges herself by consuming the D'Bari sun, causing it to go supernova and annihilating a planet of five billion people.
  • In one Superman story during The Silver Age of Comic Books, Superman inhaled all the sneezing powder Mister Mxyzptlk was sprinkling all over Metropolis, which forced him to quickly fly to a dead and desolate solar system and annihilate it with a single sneeze.

    Fan Works 
  • As revealed in Part 2 of Clash of the Elements, A Class X-2 Apocalypse happened long ago when the Realm of Darkness started to overtake the real universe, taking many planets and stars into itself before it was stopped.
  • Project Gethinator ends with the last Perkele3000 mineral scanner in the galaxy (the same model of scanner used by Tali's idiot crewmate Prazza to accidentally blow up a star and kick off the plot of Inglorious Bosh'tets) being used by Admiral Xen to destroy the star of Eta Carinae and cause it to go hypernova, in a mad Villainous Breakdown-driven bid to destroy the Normandy and everyone on it. Not only do Shepard and the others make it out in time thanks to Legion's quick hacking skills, but the Collector fleet Harbinger fielded to destroy Shepard warps in just in time for the blast to reach them.
  • With This Ring: The Vega Systems were artificially constructed a very long time ago by an ancient race, and the artefact that they used is still around, allowing easy manipulation of the stars and planets. Grayven 16 gets hold of it and starts smashing stars into each other, aiming to metaphysically weaken his opponent by breaking the empire that he has built.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Star Trek: Generations has Dr. Tolian Soran shutting down suns to alter the course of The Nexus. The way he forces their collapse, it causes the suns to forcefully expend their photospheres, destroying nearby planets.
  • Though we don't see it all on screen, the stellar cataclysm that destroyed the planet Romulus and set Nero on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the Star Trek (2009) certainly counts. This was an averted X-3, according to Spock Prime, however, Romulus' system is the only one known to be affected.
  • Say hello to Starkiller Base in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A gigantic planet-sized spaceship flies into a system and sucks up all the matter from its star. It then concentrates that matter and fires it across the galaxy at hyperspeed to destroy multiple planets in another system. Going beyond the destruction of the targeted planets, the planets in the system where the star was used will all not only die, but will end up flying off in all directions since they no longer have gravity holding them into their orbits. Even the destruction of Starkiller Base isn't a savior for the system it was in. All it did was cause the star swallowed by Starkiller Base to reconstitute in a new location. As a result, the system now has a new center of gravity, and the orbits of its planets will be greatly disrupted, with all the havoc that may entail.
  • Sunshine is about a space mission to avert this trope and prevent the Sun's imminent collapse, apparently through natural processes.

  • Empire from the Ashes has spaceships the size of moons with Black-Hole-generating engines that if used too close at too high a power setting to a sun, can cause it to go supernova. In the third book of the series, they figure out how to micro-miniaturize the supernova effect into a gravitic bomb that's less than nine feet long.
  • The Gods Themselves is about a power source which, if not stopped, will cause this to happen to the Sun... and start a chain reaction bringing the catastrophe to just below Class X-3.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: The End of the Matter is about a rogue Black Hole that threatens multiple star systems by devouring their suns, leaving them barren and lifeless. The protagonists spend their time looking for a Lost Superweapon reputed to have been developed by an ancient race specifically for use against this type of threat.
  • Into the Looking Glass: At the end, the hero is given a device of unknown functionality. Using the "Looking Glass" portals the device is taken to an uninhabited star system for testing. After the testers return to see the results of the test, they find the entire star system just plain gone. Later books include a space station made by precursors that controls the entire output of a sun.
  • The Killing Star: One group of human survivors causes an X-2 event by causing the Sun to partially implode in a desperate attempt to die rather than be captured by the alien attackers.
  • Last and First Men:
    • The Eight Men's era is ended by an event edging the line between Planetary and Stellar Annihilation, as a mass of gaseous materials from interstellar space enters the Solar System, annihilates Saturn, Earth and Venus as it collides with each in turn, and merges with the Sun to turn it into a giant star whose heat renders everything closer to it than Neptune uninhabitably hot.
    • Humanity's history ends with a full-scale Stellar Annihilation event, as a stellar "disease" that causes stars to expend their energy in vast outbursts of light and heat powerful enough to annihilate their entire systems spreads through the local stellar neighborhood and will infect the Sun too quickly for mankind to be able to escape.
  • The Last Hero: Technically, the threat to the Discworld counts as this, although its sun (which is only a few miles in diameter) would've been a much smaller loss, as celestial bodies go, than Great A'Tuin and the world-bearing elephants.
  • In Lensman, using planets grabbed from a universe where the laws of physics are different from ours, mainly that superluminal inertial motion is the norm rather than impossible, one is fired into a sun causing it to go supernova.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy has Alkad Mzu's Alchemist, which freezes a gravitational distortion node in time just before it reaches the point at which it would push itself out of the universe (many of these in a lattice around a ship are their method of FTL travel). It has two settings, one which, when fired into a star, will suck all the surrounding matter into it and create a neutron star. The lower powered setting is much more destructive, as the gravity isn't strong enough to overcome the explosive force of collapsing a star/gas giant. Which they use in order to destroy about two ships.
  • Revelation Space Series:
    • The Inhibitors build a device called a star-singer. It turns manipulates the gravity of a star to turn it into a giant flamethrower, both utterly incinerating all life on the targeted planet and turning the star into a dwarf too dim to allow any life to ever evolve in that system ever again. Then the Greenfly terraformers show up, and begin the slow, inevitable conversion of all the planets in the universe into swarms of plant-filled space habitats.
    • The Greenfly are stated to eventually cause a X-3 and then X-4 event. It is stated that Greenfly will cause the premature end of the universe by tainting the process of stellar birth and death.
  • The Songs of Distant Earth runs with the premise that humans calculate from unexpected scientific measurements only a brief few hundred years to leave the solar system due to stellar instability. Given that no technologies existed to send living humans away, the gesture was made of sending automated colonizers to populate other hypothetical worlds. Then things get a little weird.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's short story The Star, the star in question (specifically The Star of Bethlehem) goes supernova, killing an advanced alien civilization and destroying the entire solar system save a far outer planet in a Pluto-like orbit which the aliens use to create a vault to preserve information on them after they're gone.
  • Star Wars Legends features some weapons capable of doing this, such as the Sun Crusher (which causes stars to go nova, which would result in not only its own destruction but that of any system of habitable planets it may have maintained), and the Galaxy Gun, which can blow up planets anywhere in the galaxy without having to the leave the safety of the Empire's most heavily defended world. There's also the innocuously named Centerpoint Station, an ancient superweapon whose functions had been long since forgetten... until it's discovered (by the Big Bad of the story, naturally) that, like the Sun Crusher, it can cause stars to go nova, along with other less directly destructive but still incredibly useful functions. Lampshaded and parodied in Destiny's Way by Walter Jon Williams, in which Han Solo ridicules the proliferation of super-weapons (and by extension the authors responsible for giving every new Expanded Universe novel in The '90s a new superweapon-of-the-week).
    Han Solo: What the Empire would have done was build a super-colossal Yuuzhan Vong–killing battle machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus or the Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose. They would have spent billions of credits, employed thousands of contractors and subcontractors, and equipped it with the latest in death-dealing technology. And you know what would have happened? It wouldn't have worked. They'd forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up. Now that's what the Empire would have done.
  • In Tiamat's Wrath a neutron star that's been kept on the very edge of collapsing into a black hole is made to collapse by the Goths by causing empty space to "boil" into matter.
  • In "Time Fuze", by Randall Garrett, Earth's first expedition to Proxima Centauri arrives just in time to watch the star go supernova a few billion years ahead of schedule. It turns out that it was caused by the FTL drive on their ship; on the return trip, they discover that they accidentally blew up our own Sun on exiting the solar system, too.
  • In The World at the End of Time, by Frederik Pohl, war between plasma-based beings that live inside stars results in the destruction of uncountable solar systems. The war is fought by directing energies into a star that tear apart the beings. It has the side effect of causing the stars that the beings inhabit to go supernova. That side affect is used to exterminate biological entities before they might threaten the beings. One notable example is the destruction of a Wolf Rayet type star when one being tricks another into believing that is the type of star he prefers. It is revealed to be the Sun, and takes out Earth and all human civilisation except the colony the story is set in.
  • Young Wizards: One of the many names of the Lone Power is "Star Snuffer", since It has the ability to both render a star dark and cause it go supernova.
  • In The Zodiac Series, this is what Aquarius's plan would cause—namely, going through the sun, which would shut it down completely. Note that while it's a horrible thing that the protagonists need to stop, it's only a side-effect if Aquarius's actual plan came to fruition.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda: The Systems Commonwealth, the good guys of the series, had Nova Bombs, explosives with enough power to make a star go supernova. Dylan Hunt, the main protagonist, had 40 of them on his ship, which he used to temporarily turn a Black Hole into a White Hole in the first episode. Later on in the series, we find out he's making more of them, though he's making them to destroy the Magog.
  • Battlestar Galactica, believing that fifteen known cases of Class 2 by the middle of the third season was not enough, gave us a supernova at the end of "Rapture". This was a natural event... maybe.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The ancient weapon from "Colony in Space" was apparently capable of singling out any star in the Milky War galaxy and causing it to go nova. Whether or not its effects could reach other galaxies isn't stated.
    • In "Remembrance of the Daleks", the 7th Doctor pulls a Batman Gambit on Davros, tricking him into making Skaro's sun go supernova.
    • "The End of the World": Mercury, Venus and the Earth are engulfed out by the expanding Sun. Although Earth's technically an uninhabited protected landmark by that point.
    • "Blink": The Weeping Angels getting into the TARDIS and feasting on it would not be good for anyone. The Doctor states the fallout could "switch off the sun".
    • "The Lodger": The time ship (disguised as an upstairs flat) that is powered by lifeforce is incompatible with human and Time Lord life. When it absorbs a human, it burns them, causing toxic rot to seep through the ship's floor, but if it reaches the Doctor, the energy would blow up the entire solar system.
  • The National Geographic program Evacuate Earth (Evacuation Earth) has this kind of situation with a rogue neutron star, not only destroying Earth but other plants in the solar system, possibly the sun as well.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures:
    • In "Revenge of the Slitheen", the Slitheen attempt to drain the Earth's sun of its energy to kill the planet and then sell off Earth's remains. They partly drain the sun, causing the temperature on Earth to drop, but everything's fixed by a quite literal Reset Button.
    • This class of event happened to the Veil homeworld when its sun died, leaving the world a lifeless ball of ice and the entire Veil race frozen except for Androvax (who was Driven to Villainy by his people and homeworld's fate) and an ark carrying other Veil.
    • After converting her prison ship, Ruby White in "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith" travelled to many worlds, but warns Clyde not to look out for them, as they're "no longer with us".
  • Stargate-verse
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "By Inferno's Light", Changeling-Bashir attempts to cause Bajor's sun to go supernova by chucking a trilithium bomb into it.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • A supernova is a central plot point in "Tin Man", as a Sapient Ship called Gomtuu has entered orbit of the red giant with the intent of committing suicide.
    • In "Relics", a Dyson Sphere is discovered that was abandoned because of instabilities in its sun (with a looming supernova being the implied cause).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Normally, the card game Nuclear War only goes so far as allowing players to irradiate the planet in a Class 3 or Class 4 situation. However, the rules state that if a player launches a 100-megaton warhead and spins the (improbable) "Hit nuclear stockpile" result, the game instantly ends as a chain reaction engulfs the planet and the entire solar system in a nuclear fireball.
  • In the RPG Traveller, the Darrians have a weapon that can send a star supernova.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • If several Blackstone fortresses are linked, they can make a star go supernova and consequentially destroy the star system with it.
    • Also, the Necron C'tan used to eat stars. Before they decided sentient beings were tastier.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy VII evokes the imagery of a Class X-2 apocalypse for Safer-Sephiroth's Signature Move, "Supernova": a massive magic missile is summoned from the outer edges of the solar system, pulverizing Pluto, torching a swath of Saturn's rings, blowing a hole through Jupiter, then landing in the sun and causing it to expand and explode, engulfing Mercury, Venus, and finally, Earth.
  • Final Fantasy Endless Nova revolves around this. It turns out Paradorn has been pulling off Class X-4s on a regular basis, just to feed herself. Apparently she can use magic to turn a supernova into a universe-wide disaster.
  • FreeSpace 2 ends in the Shivans doing this to Capella... for reasons that have not been explained.
  • Galactic Civilizations II includes, in one of the expansion packs, the Terror Star: a moon-sized space station:
    ...vast spherical space stations that can drift from system to system with a forboding slowness, detonating stars like gaming's biggest exploding barrels. The resulting supernova annihilates every planet and ship in the solar system, leaving only a few asteroid belts composed of the detritus... I call mine the Starfucker Extreme.
    But there's a big difference between owning something that can destroy stars, and actually destroying one. The best weapon, after all, is one you only have to fire once. That's how Tony Stark did it, that's how his father did it, and that's how the Spatial Hares will do it. Unfortunately, I don't think the AI pays any attention to what happens to uninhabited worlds, so nuking Bikini Atoll wasn't going to cut it. In order to ensure I'd never need to use the Starfucker Extreme on a real planet, I had to use it on a real planet.
    Of course, I already knew a way to do that — I told you all about it on Day 6. The two ghost worlds I accidentally created, by colonising them with empty colony ships. I could do the same again here, and end up with an almost entirely empty world that still counts as an owned planet. It would be my almost-entirely-empty-world, of course, so I'd have to give it to the Terrans first — perhaps for a tidy price — then immediately destroy it to terrify them.
    And to think, they called me crazy.
  • Halo:
    • The backstory states that the Forerunners deliberately did this several times in (failed) attempts to stop the spread of the Flood.
    • The Forerunners also accidentally did this to their own homeworld, when a stellar engineering experiment went horribly wrong.
    • The Covenant's San'Shyuum/Prophets claim that this was the fate of their species' homeworld. It's left ambiguous whether they're actually telling the truth.
  • The Pfhor in the Marathon Trilogy have a Trih Xeem in their arsenal, a Jjaro technology which roughly translates to "Early Nova". Guess what it does. They deploy it when they take heavy casualties or lose outright when waging wars and/or suppressing slave revolts. Thing is, when Durandal and The Security Officer come along and spank them and cause them to unleash Trih Xeem, no one bothered to mention to them that the local sun was keeping a being of chaos imprisoned—the attempted X-2 cascades into an X-3 that The Officer (Maybe) spends the final game trying to undo.
  • Mass Effect: In the second game's DLC Arrival, Shepard has to blow up a Mass Relay in order to slow down the invasion of the Reapers, who prefer doing the Class X-3, long enough for the galaxy to get its act together and unite against them. Of course, in the process the exploding Relay took out the system it was in along with the 304,942 Batarian people living there, therefore all but guaranteeing war between the Human Systems Alliance and the Batarian Hegemony. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
  • In Outer Wilds, 22 minutes after the player wakes up, the sun will go supernova and destroy the whole galaxy. This is, in fact, a symptom of a Class X-4 which is actually happening, better known as the Heat Death of the Universe.
  • SimEarth: At the end of the game, the sun expands and swallows up the planet.
  • In Space Empires, you can blow up a star, killing everything in the system. However, sometimes that's not enough — you can recreate stars and planets, after all. If that's the case, turn the system into a Black Hole, which also destroys the raw materials for planets. Then again, you can also destroy the resulting Black Hole... Then put a new star back in place, and put a Dyson Sphere around it, making the materials for a massive sphere from virtually nothing...
  • Sierra's Space Quest series has the Star Crusher, a (surprisingly small) energy weapon capable of vaporizing planets and detonating stars, thus theoretically capable of wiping out whole solar systems in one shot. Fortunately, the mad scientist who created it was exiled before he could use it, and his research confiscated. Unfortunately the people that confiscated the research didn't stop the project, oh no. They discovered their own star was dying, renamed the project the Star Generator, and used it in an attempt to save their planet. And apparently, no one expected the original mad scientist to get upset and try to take his weapon back...
  • In StarCraft II, a planet containing one of the Xel'Naga artifacts is being burned up from an expanding sun by the time Raynor's Raiders reaches it. Within a few hours, the sun will have engulfed it.
  • Star Ruler allows the player to blow up stars, with sufficient firepower. The star will go supernova, annihilating everything in the system — planets will be blasted apart, and any ship that can't outrun the explosion or jump away will be wiped away in a nuclear hellstorm.
  • The plot of Star Trek: Bridge Commander started and revolved around sun-shattering kabooms.
  • Stellaris: A civilization attempting to Become The Crisis will gain access to a unique ship called a Star-Eater. These ships... well, consume entire stars in an instant and leave a black hole behind, turning the star into a giant pile of Dark Matter resources. They need that Dark Matter to power a superweapon known as the Aetherophasic Engine, which, if completed, does the next tier up the Apocalypse list...
  • Supernova has a star going supernova, and a civilization trying to escape. The player learns about this incidentally, only after taking what appears to be a valuable treasure in a pyramid, then heading to a second installation.
  • X-COM: Interceptor has the ultimate weapon as the Nova Bomb. When fired at a star, it takes about a minute to accelerate to light speed, at which point it is unstoppable. When it hits the sun, it instantly goes supernova, wiping out the entire solar system. You're supposed to use it to take out the alien superweapon, but there's very little preventing you from targeting a star the aliens have built several mining bases around and pulling the trigger. The star does in fact disappear from the map.
  • Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner features the military fortress Aumaan, which when activated, can radiate enough energy to swallow the entire solar system. Big Bad Omnicidal Maniac Nohman attempts to do just this, but Dingo destroys Aumaan's core and destabilises the reaction before it does much damage. Beyond, y'know, destroying one of Mars' moons.

  • In Homestuck, The Tumor is a bomb that can destroy the Incipisphere (a pocket dimension roughly with the size and contents of a solar system) and is designed to do so to erase Null Sessions. Jack Noir would have eventually destroyed the Kids' Session via a bunch of Class Xs, and ends up doing this to the Trolls' Session.
  • In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, when the Kvrk-chk ate a Racconan colony ship's passengers and broadcast that they would come after the rest next, the Empire retaliated by roasting one of the more populated Kvrk-chk star systems with a stellar lance.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • A coalition of races pop and invade a Dyson Sphere made by the Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers blow up the sun in the centre of the sphere in response, almost wiping out the offenders in the process (it's no big loss for them. They've got more).
    • The Pa'anuri use supernovas as a first-strike solution against anyone who annoys them sufficiently ('annoying', here, meaning 'having invented radio'). The only reason they hadn't done it to our galaxy was because of the Gatekeepers.

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers: Unicron, while mostly known for eating planets, has also eaten stars, albeit never on screen. It's All There in the Manual.
  • What If…? (2021): In "What If... Ultron Won?", the big bad robot, during his universe-wide genocide of all sapient life, ends up battling Captain Marvel at the core of Xandar, and when he uses the Infinity Stones' power to end the fight there and then, the blast is shown obliterating not only Xandar but multiple neighboring planets, which might have even been in a separate star system from Xandar.

    Real Life 
  • We have 5 billion years until it happens naturally in our little corner of the galaxy.
    • While our sun's red giant phase will destroy the inner planets by swallowing them, those planets that won't be swallowed (which includes all the gas giants) will survive quite well so this won't be quite an X-2 (more like multiple class X's). Plus the sun will still be there as a white dwarf.
    • However, in the very far future (many billions after many billions of years) the probabilities of a star passing so close to our Sun that planetary orbits will get disrupted increase. It has been estimated that after a quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) years our dead and dark Sun will have all of its planets stripped, so by then the Solar System will have ceased to exist. Newer estimations, however, suggest this will happen much earlier, "just" roughly 100 billion years from now.
  • There are different ways this can happen at the end of a star's life cycle: medium-mass stars (like our Sun) swell up into a Red Giant, incinerating their inner solar system, then collapse, ejecting most of their mass into a Stellar Nebula, and turn into a tiny White Dwarf, which eventually cools down into a Black Dwarf: a dark, cold, dense lump of matter. High-mass stars die much more dramatically, swelling into Supergiants and then going supernova (exploding), leaving behind a nebula, a Neutron Star, or a Black Hole. Low-mass stars are estimated to last as long as up to one thousand times the current age of the universe. Any low-mass stars that might have become helium white dwarfs were originally higher-mass stars stripped of their mass.
  • Rogue planets, cold dark bodies that drift through the galaxy without orbiting a star, have effectively lost both their sun(s) and any fellow planets which were once their neighbors, although their original systems may still exist somewhere. A large enough Rogue planet could severely disrupt the orbits of objects in any solar system it wanders into.
  • A large enough black hole could devour an entire solar system leaving nothing but radiation.
  • A class O or B star going supernova would likely emit enough radiation to sterilize all planets within 50 light years or so. Thankfully, no such stars exist within range of Earth.