I guess the bottom line is that the "science" of Abrams' Trek
is just plain terrible. I pray that it's because of the writers' strike that the script couldn't have been refined more, and they were stuck with placeholder terminology ("red matter"? "lightning storm in space"?) but I'm afraid I hope in vain. We'll see when Into Darkness
comes out if things are any better.
Hobus would've made much more sense as a pulsar than a supernova, IMO. And then there's the assertion in the Countdown
comic that Hobus was 500 lightyears from Romulus, on the fringes of the Empire. An expanding sphere of energy 1000 lightyears in diameter? Generated by a supernova
These writers have no scientific knowledge worth mentioning, and are afraid their audiences are too stupid to understand anything more than elementary school science, so they give us shorthand, instead of thinking up an actual explanation that makes sense.