So, you have the big bad race, whose extermination method is basically to force stars to go supercritical via the power of handwavium. You can assume 1 solar mass for each, but you can change it if you like.

The first scenario would be:

  • Star A of the binary swells to red giant status, and then is either touching or consumes star B: what would happen?

Scenario 2:

  • Star A goes supernova, with maybe 1 AU of distance between it and Star B.

What info Id like to know:

  • Can it destroy the other star via supernova?
  • What is the effective range of the supernova, and can it destroy stars a light year or more away?

(Asked on astronomy: https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/questions/25895/is-a-supernova-powerful-enough-to-destroy-the-other-star-in-a-binary-system)

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I suggest you strip out the scenario stuff and ask Astronomy.SE. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Apr 13, 2018 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ This is borderline on-topic here, but I think I agree with @RonJohn. First thing to ask would be - can there exist a binary star with one star going nova. If it can exist, build from there. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Apr 13, 2018 at 14:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Raznarok without answers and votes deletion here and asking there is least complicated way. As I've said, you do not have to delete here. It is ok to have similar topics on two different stacks asked, as long as both questions are tailored to the sites they are asked on. Astronomy does not deal with fiction, but they do deal with possibilities about binary stars and novas and if such event occurred or is suspected to occur, they'll probably know. And reality is a good start for worldbuilding. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Apr 13, 2018 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ You could just try it out Yourself in universe simulator I guess. $\endgroup$
    – Maciej
    Apr 13, 2018 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot: Not only is it possible for a binary star to become a supernova, there's one kind (Type 1a: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_Ia_supernova ) that requires a binary system. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Apr 15, 2018 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


The easy way to answer this is simply to search for "supernova binary remnant", where you will find that there are cases where the companion star is ejected https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.05900 or where it forms an Xray binary https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/news/binary-star-system-clues.html

So obviously there are cases where a supernova does not completely destroy the companion star. However, you're probably really wondering what happens to people living on worlds around that star, and the answer is not good: they vaporize. 30-50 light years is about the minimum safe distance for supernova viewing: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/supernove-distance

But really a question better suited to Astronomy.

  • $\begingroup$ But a well-researched answer... :-) $\endgroup$
    – Fabby
    Apr 14, 2018 at 1:28

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