Weight of the Key to The Fortress of Solitude

I was watching the movie Superman – All Star where Superman undergoes excessive exposure to the radiation of the Sun. Later on in the movie, he takes Lois Lane to The Fortress of Solitude and he shows her the key to the entrance of The Fortress is present right at the doorstep.

Lois tries to pick up the key and it feels like it weights a million tons! And it turns out it does weigh a million tons. Actually a lot more! Superman picks up the key and makes it look like it is light as a feather. He goes on to explain that the key is in fact crafted from a piece of a white dwarf star.

Now this is pretty cool and I wanted to calculate how much the key must weigh in terms of mass. A typical white dwarf has a density of 107kg per cubic meter. Now this is something you cannot imagine. A large key weighs about 100gm. If I am going by this, one gram of a dwarf star weighs 10,000kg. So 100gm is 100 times this! And this comes to 10,000,00kg.

Truly Superman is one of the strongest beings in this universe to be capable of lifting something as heavy as this!

But why doesn’t something as heavy as 10,000,00kg create any disturbance to the Earth’s rotation or cause any structural changes to the earth? The Earth weighs about 4250557048620620000kg. And no that number is not something I created by banging my fist on the number pad.

16,777,216kg is the approximate weight of Mt Everest. So an object which is made of a dwarf star suddenly seems light when you compare it to the biggest rock on the planet. This is probably why it doesn’t affect the Earth in any which way. There are heavier objects on Earth than the key to the Fortress of Solitude.


–          Professor Vipin

Info about the writer: Vipin Mandyam is an educator, career counselor, entrepreneur and a pioneer for online education in avenues such as business, finance and current affairs. During his free time he is seen gaming or rescuing animals. He is also a huge fan of Iron Maiden. He is also notorious in the Iyengar community

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