Stellar Objects, which are small and fragile

New 2023 New in this page : Garfield and other comics, Grizzy & Lemmings, Korra, HISHE, search for "New 2023".

Dear friends, there is a subject on which I talked much in several groups and forums. In the classic troll, you usually find "who'd beat who" between characters of differents series or comics, and to prove their points, the guys search comparison points (as Goku never actually fighted Superman), through their biggest deeds, the ones that require the most power, usually implying stellar objects.

Indeed, uber-powerful heroes like moving, cunting in two or destroying the Moon. Just as they love touching the Sun's surface, fly from Earth to Jupiter in a few minutes, etc...
Unfortunately all these comparisons are impossible. They are impossible because each action of a hero in space is false. As a matter of fact, the authors are all wrong about the real masses, size and distances of stellar objects.

This page will show that us, human being, all have a twisted vision. It's not because we're stupid, simply we are not used to evaluate there distances. They are way too unhuman.
Plus, the usual picturing of the solar system and others is always very schematic. They never show the real distances becaus if they did... we wouldn't see anything. Just dots.


The Moon

What's the distance Earth-Moon? 384,400km. With the good proportions, what would we see on a picture?
This is what we're used to see an imagine:

This is the real thing, all scales now right:

Conclusion: the Moon is small, and very very far away.

Another image, from wikipedia:

Piccolo and Kamesennin destroyed the Moon

With a power level of 139 (so nothing in DBZ world), Kame Sennin destroyed to bits the Moon with a Megahameha, that tired him, but not that much. With a power level of about 1000 (so still nothing), Piccolo destroyed the Moon with a quick and easy fireball.


In the two situations, the Moon was destroyed, lets say, 5 seconds after the fireball was shot. The Moon is 384 400 kilometers (238,866 miles) away from Earth. The fireballs then speeded at 276 millions of kilometers per hour (171 millions of miles per hour). Yes, it's a very lot. That's 226 thousand times the speed of sound, and a quarter of lightspeed.

As you may guess, we don't reach the Moon is so little time. But of course, an simple comics author don't think about these things. He rarelly already have these numbers in mind.

Namek (disgression)

While I'm talking about speed, lets go on planet Namek. People travel on it. Very powerful People. At what speed?
First we need to know Namek's size. Its gravity is near the Earth's on the opposite case Bulma would have complained a lot about how it hard to even walk. So its mass is near the Earth's. What's it volume? If Namek was made with helium, it'd be much bigger than Earth, if it was made with pure iron, it's be much smaller. Bu Namek seems to be made of the same componants: mud, rock, water, and air. So Namek must be about the same size and superficies of the Earth.

Piccolo, who just fused with Nail, feels his little adopted son being harmed by Freeza far away from where he is. The farthest it could be would be the other side of the planet. So he runs to it. What time does he takes? We don't really know, but quite a lot. I will shortest the travel to one minute, so to do at best 22 000 kilometers (13,600 miles, half of the equator length). Result: 1 million of kilometers per hour (820,210 mph). Sounds fast? Still, it's 3276 times less thet the speed of his own fireballs when he was very weak. And more than once, we saw a character being pursued by a fireball going as fast as him.


What power is needed to destroy an enormous mass like the Moon? Something amazingly giant. All the countries of the world could empty their whole nuclear weapons on it, they would just reorganize the craters on the surface. In fact, in mass, I would say we can admin that the Moon weight as much as a continent, like the USAs or Europe.

That means with a super Kameha, Kamesennin can destroy (nuke, delete, desintegrate, there's nothing left except a giant hole in the Earth that begins to fills itself with oceans, the matter being compressed or send into the whole world) Europe.

In this case, can you explain that, when Piccolo Junior at the martial art tournament create a big crevasse with a simple movement of the hand, all the heros (who at the time are stronger than Kamesennin) coward and say: "We.. can't even see the bottom!!". With a movement of the hand, they can move England!

It's then crystal clear that their power can't do this, and they are far from having the necessary strenght to destroy a whole country, but just enough (for Piccolo), to nuke a small island. So the guilty one here is the Moon. The Moon is a tiny round object that floats one mile high in the sky.

Goku climbed to the Moon

The Rabbit Gang

On volume 2 of Dragon Ball, Songoku sticks his Nyoi-bo on the ground, then tells him to grow up. This done, Goku climbs the Nyoi-bo, using one hand and two feets, while carrying 3 people. Cf the image.
He then explains when he is back that he came to the Moon. The last panel proves it, we see the 3 people on it, who by the way don't have problems at breathing.
Also on this last panel, we see in the Moon's "sky" the Earth, enormous. This shows that Toriyama got a vision of the Moon that's like my first picture on the top of the page. Indeed in reality, from the Moon, we see the Earth in the sky... very small. In fact just a little bigger than Moon's size from the Earth.

I answer here to something many people told me, NO, Goku is not pushed by the growing Nyoi-bo (like he does to get from Karin's lookout to God's sanctuary at volume 14 for example). He really do climbs it, as shown here.

The problems here are the followings: Goku breathes in space, Goku breathes on the Moon and travel, while climbing a stick, hundreds of thousands of kilometers, which mean a third of the guessed length of the snake's way to Kaioh, nine times the periphery of the World.

Why is all this possible? That's very simple, at the beginning of the series, the tone and scenario was close from Dr Slump, in which Arale destroys the Moon every two chapters with one fist. Fights and powers weren't very important, we were in a humoristic manga. Toriyama didn't even know at the time that Goku could turn into a giant monkey...

Note that in the anime, Goku indeed uses the traction of the Nyoi-bo to get up there. That differs from the manga.
Note also how in the last image, the Earth is gigantic as seen from the Moon ? This goes with the next part.

db009-flying-to-the-moon-1.jpg db009-flying-to-the-moon-2.jpg db009-flying-to-the-moon-3.jpg db009-flying-to-the-moon-4.jpg db009-flying-to-the-moon-5.jpg db009-flying-to-the-moon-6.jpg db009-flying-to-the-moon-7.jpg db009-flying-to-the-moon-8.jpg

Karin Tower

On the other hand, in the next issues, the combat is the base and power ratios are important. After being trained by Kamesennin, so much much stronger and tougher, Goku climbs Karin's Tower. And he gets a hell of a time doing it!

Yet, Goku is stronger, he doesn't carry 3 guys with a hand and so uses two hands for climbing. The tower is large, with buckets and large holds. Goku can even sleep on a cornice. So this tower is really easier to climb.

What's it's height then? You can say all you want, it's obvious the top of the tower is really lower than the Moon. Even with the false Earth-moon picture in the head, none can imagine the tower rising above this distance, plus the towers doesn't go into space, and over it, higher again, is God's Santuary, where air is rare, but perfectly breathable.

Again, there is a big contradiction between the climbing of Karin's Tower and the climbing of Nyoi-bo to the Moon. That's because the Moon is a small round object that floats one mile high in the sky.

Descnding to Earth

When Freeza gets on Earth, we see the earth and the moon (of source, as it's so near the earth). In the manga it's just a big dot, but in the anime, its clear again : the moon is really near the earth.

Some said me: no, it's in fact far behind, or far beyond the Earth, and because it's in 2-D, you think it's close.
Ok, in this case that'd mean, to begin with, it's far beyond. Because far behind, that would make the moon really too big. And if it's far beyond ? Well, maybe it's good. But frankly, do you believe the artist thinked of drawing a far-beyond moon ?

Note that the manga may be less guilty: maybe the moon isn't drawn, and it's just a star we see there.
[Earth see from Freeza's ship]

Tree of Might of Tullece

This tree covers about the size of a contient. In other shots, it's seen only from way afar, or very close, which avoids comparing it to human-sized objects, which renders well.
But its destruction created a light that covers half the Earth. We then see a usual absurd sized Moon and a tiny ridiculous Sun ^_^
In their defense, a well placed camera can give that effect. It's found in all pictures of sunset in the desert for example, we generally see a giant sun and in its center a camel or a palm tree... The sun is not visually giant, it's just a picture that has been zoomed afterwards, distorting all proportions.

Video Game introduction

Proportions are almost good in the introduction of the game Budokai 2.
Except the Moon is very very very very near the Earth. Good thing they're destroying it: it clearly was going to fall on the Earth...

Images sources of other artists


[Akira page]

Time to remember Akira, where Tetsuo flys to the Moon and destroys a part of it.
First we have a view from the Moon. Heck the Earth is big seen from it. Reeeeally big. Because you know, Earth is bigger than the Moon right? What we constantly forget is the sun is thousands of time bigger too, but it doesn't take half of the sky. Because it's far.
So the earth, seen from the moon, should be small. See next exemple with Tintin.
Note also that the surface is curved. Again a tight vision: the Moon is imagined small so we always draw it's horizon as a curve. [Akira page]

Then, we see the moon, and behind it, the earth. Here again we have a problem. Or the Earth is very very near, or it's very very big.


This exemple... sees things right. Just to give you a perspective. See how the earth is small and far in the large sky of the moon...
[Tintin page]

Superman IV

Our friend Superman feels the need to move around the Moon. So he pushes it, as you can see it (click on pictures for bigger size)
First mistake, showing Superman from the side. Because as soon as he is on the Moon, we shoud see him vertically, perpendicular to the floor... After all in previous scenes, taking place on the Moon, showed an horizontal Moon floor.
Second mistake, instead of pushing it, he should nail himself in the Moon! The Moon is not strong enough to take the thousands of tons of pressure Supes put on it... After all in a previous scene, taking place on the Moon, Supes was nailed in the moon!

Supe 4 shot Supe 4 shot Supe 4 shot
We can see a small curve on the surface.. they just can't resist. So I could draw the entire moon from it. By measuring out Superman (I give him a height of 2 meters (6.5 feet) i'm nice), and measuring out the radius of the at the place where he is, I calculate a radius of the Moon of... 80 meters !! (262 feets, 0.0497 miles)
Supe 4 shot
I must say, this movie isn't very bright. In the emptyness of space, capes and tall hair floats in the wind, people without super powers breathe and don't explode nor are bothered by radiations.
Here is one of the latest scenes (spoiler ! and click on pictures for bigger size) where the bad guy take the girl in the sky... oups, nope, into space! She turns around and sees the small earth like in the 2nd shot! So she must be about a hundred thousands miles from the surface of the Earth... And she falls! (because the ridiculous small blue thingy attracts her), fortunately Superman saves her... look in the last screenshot, they come bak from far :)
Supe 4 shot Supe 4 shot Supe 4 shot Supe 4 shot Supe 4 shot

New 2023 In the other movie on Superman, "Man of Steel", the usual wrong representation is done, and we don't even have the excuse of "it's far behind" (see the conclusion of this article), as it's a 3D representation.
In the same movie, Kal-el ship can't refrain itself from passing very close to the Moon, as if it was on the way to the Earth.

Another bonus about Superman: in this episode of "How it should have ended" about Man of steel, the moon is small and close.

Once Upon a Time... The Discoverers

We finish with this educationnal cartoon. I'd have hoped that, by its nature, they would care. Unfortunately cartoonists didn't that much.
Throughout the season, we see this in the credits:

Even a scientist cartoon shows aberrations. Note how the moon is very small and close to the Earth. The latter also rotates at an amazing speed. And the continents' shapes, forget it :)

One of the last episodes speaks of the conquest of the Moon. Again, some misses. Let's start with this shot, which is not without recalling the image of Akira and the Rabbit Gang on the Moon: a representation too common in people's minds. Then for the joke, the flag flying in the wind... (no, there is no wind on the moon, the flag is actually held by a horizontal rod). And finally, seen from the shuttle, a crescent moon. Do you see the problem? Indeed, when we see a crescent moon, the unlit part still exists, it does not disappear, it is just black! Now the artist has put stars, way visible from behind the crescent moon! (note that Hemispheres' colorist did exactly the same thing ... But I corrected him)

New 2023 Same happened on Garfield comic strip, this huge moon isn't a sphere...

Other comics

New 2023 "Off The Mark" makes a usual representation. And "Strange Brew" accumulates clichés: the Moon's horizon is curved, the Earth is huge...

"F-Minus" makes a usual representation, but it's funny because the same series also explain the reality of things ^^

Grizzy and the Lemmings & The Legend of Korra

New 2023 Same principle.
In Grizzy, on the left (the characters have grown up by magic), we are in a funny cartoon, but the Earth represented is really ours, with a nice attention to details, clouds, etc. But we always want to put absolutely the moon in the scene, and so we have that.
In Korra, on the right, a much more serious cartoon, we still believe that the moon is a small object that floats near the Earth.

The way to the moon

New 2023 In many fictions, as soon as we are "in space", (that we are no longer in a blue sky but in a starry sky), we are then at the level of all the artificial satellites, but also of the moon. While a geostationary satellite (for example for TV) is 36,000km away, I remind you that the moon is ten times further away.
However, in the Superman movie above, in the Invincible comics and a huge number of others, simply because the characters go up into space, poof, two seconds later they are on the moon. In Akira (above), Tetsuo flies the equivalent of ten times around the Earth to attack the Moon.
In Hancock, Will Smith "jumps" towards the Moon, he leaps higher and higher (as if the asphalt street were a trampoline) and his last jump propels him "towards the moon". In all the previous ones it was still at sky height, but this latest one was enough.

Example in this badass video of Asura VS Akuma, not only they explose the moon like if it was a big rock, but also right after they are back near the earth.

The classic representations

New 2023
So here's what everyone has in mind: a small ball close to Earth.
In any case, this is how it is almost always represented, when a space view of the Earth is shown.

Is this possible or is it always wrong?

Several people have told me that this representation is possible.
The Moon just needs to be far behind the Earth, almost behind it but a little to the side. By perspective effect, it will therefore be smaller, and "next to" Earth.

It is therefore possible, but only from a very special point of view. It's like those photos we often see: the desert with a huge sun and a camel in front, smaller than the sun. To get this, you actually have to be very far from the camel, and use a special lens.

Why such representations?

After a discussion with Philippe Delorme, we concluded that the artists represented the Earth and the Moon like this, less out of ignorance of their real size, but because there is no other (realistic) way to show them together.
What bothers me is that this choice, often unthought out (we do what we have already seen, such as representing a schoolboy with a schoolbag on his back from which a large graduated ruler sticking out), has created a loop of ignorance: in fact, everyone always sees the Earth and the Moon represented like this. All the time. Someone who is not very familiar with real distances will think that the Moon is actually next to the Earth, not far behind, and therefore close and small.

The problem therefore lies in this vast majority of representations.

It's the same with crabs and lobsters. They are almost always drawn in red. In reality, they are almost always black in color. Except when they are cooked. Krusty Krab from Spongebob, Sebastian from the Little Mermaid, are therefore cooked (or a very rare species from the Indian Ocean).

We have the same distance problem with time. Prehistoric men are from 2.5 millions to 0.01 millions years ago. Dinosaurs are from 252 millions to 66 millions years ago. But in so many fictions, they meet. (66M years ago, the closest human ancestor was a little rat. Apes didn't even exist)

My solution: when you represent the Earth... avoid putting the Moon next to it! Indeed, why always want to attach the Moon to the Earth? I understand that it is the largest object surrounding the Earth, but the Moon is not in its vicinity. In reality, we have to report 30 times the diameter of the Earth to locate the Moon.
The Moon is far. It doesn't need to be shown.

The Sun

So now, we gets to real big things. Because the Sun is big. Freaking big!!! And far. Oh yeah it's faaaaar. The Sun is 150 millions of kilometers (93 millions of miles) away!!!
For this picture, I had to do a very big image, in which, in order to keep the good scales, the Earth is one pixel large. Click on it and move the scroller far on the right to see it ;) What you see here, in a big arrow I put to help :)

Other images from the Internet. Click to enlarge.

Broly dies in the Sun

Film 10, Broly's Back. The Legendary Super Saiyan gets a familly Kameha real hard that sends him in space, and crash into the Sun, usually a good technique to get ride of the worsts guys (except it didn't work on Coola).
So first, if we follow the scene, Broly travels the 150,000,000 kilometers in a few seconds, breaking the speed of light (I must recall you that Sun's light takes about 8 minutes to get to us), then crash into the Sun, making a giant impact.

Yes, giant.
Because, did you see the curve of the red thingy, also known as the Sun?
I played at drawing the missing parts of the picture, to see the actual size of the Sun if this, and measure it. From this, I can deduce the size of this some thing... well it's in truth 244000 kilometers high, which is 20 times the Earth diameter, and almost two times the diameter of Jupiter.

I also put the Earth on the picture, it's the lonely pixel on the top right.
Can you imagine a smoke of this size? I can't either. No one, in fact.

Exercise : there is also the big light of the impact, shown on the Earth. Your turn now to guess how many countries it covers :)

Coola "dies" in the Sun

Yeah because he didn't even die ;) (5th film)
Goku sends back a fireball to Coola, which seems to be about 10 meters wide. On each new shot, it'll become bigger and bigger as the authors image the celestial bodies are imagined smaller and smaller. First it leaves the Earth, and on the image, it looks like to be several hundreds of kilometers wide... Then it touches the sun, and here, it's 50,000 kilometers wide !
Indeed, click on the last image, you'll see the deduced sun, as I did for Broly. The yello dot is it's center.
Dear cartoonist, a reminder: when we get closer to the Moon or the Sun, and zoomed enough to see human-sized objects, don't draw any curve!
film05-mort-coola-1 film05-mort-coola-2 film05-mort-coola
The, the Sun "explode". From it's initial size, it becomes dozens of time bigger, and covers the entire sky (whaaaaa)
film05-mort-coola-3 film05-mort-coola-4 film05-mort-coola-5 film05-mort-coola-6 film05-mort-coola-7 film05-mort-coola-8

Images sources of other artists

This is an image from the anime Saint Seiya Hades. Hades will put on the same line all the planets of the solar system, using for it about 10^9999999999 mega-joules of energy, so the human race will be extinct (it seem that alining planets has this consequence), something he could problably have done with like a billion less time energy.

Of couse this is just a representation. Still, the planets aren't all the same size. We all know that Jupiter and Saturn are real bigger than the Earth, so it's a little respected.
But, the Sun is absolutely ri-di-culous. Smaller that Saturn ;)

And super-gag: look at the Moon :)


The stellar objects are shown in fictions, and in Dragon Ball, as small and near. It's a common and human error, everybody does it.

We can't compare heroes from different series with these objects.

And we can't imagine the power of the characters by looking at if they can detroy the Moon or the Earth. When Buu at it's biggest power kicks Mystic Gohan's ass, the ground is broken and messed everywhere. But what should really happen, is that any shockwave du to each movement should destroy the Earth....