Astronomers are finally solving the mystery of the famous 900 year old Chinese supernova


The 900-year-old puzzle was finally solved when an international team of astronomers said they had identified the source of a famous supernova recorded by astronomers in 1181 AD.

The supernova, known as the “Chinese guest star”, has been observed by Chinese and Japanese astronomers and is said to be as bright as Saturn and visible in the night sky for six months.

These astronomers also recorded the approximate location of supernovae in the sky, but even if astronomers could locate the sources of the other four bright supernovae in the Milky Way, their remains cannot be identified to this day. was. It has been observed and recorded by astronomers for the past millennium.

A team of astronomers from Hong Kong, Spain, Hungary, France and the UK now state in a new essay in The Astrophysical Journal Letters that the nebula known as Pa 30 is the wreckage of a star that erupted violently in a supernova 1181. I am. ..

The team observed that the fog was spreading at an “extreme speed” of 1,100 km / s, or more than 2,500,000 mph. At this speed, it only takes 5 minutes to reach the moon from Earth.

(Photo credit: University of Hong Kong)

At this speed, astronomers were able to trace it back to the so-called Parker star and determine that it was created by a supernova about 1,000 years ago. As a guest actor in China observed here on earth.

“Historical reports place guest artists between the two Chinese constellations Chuanche and Huagai,” said Professor Albert Zijlstra, one of Manchester University’s co-authors, in a statement. “The Parkers Star is in the right place, which means both age and location match the events of 1181.”

Parker’s star and Pa30 are believed to be the result of a merger of two white dwarfs. This creates a relatively weak and rare supernova known as the Iax supernova.

“Only about 10% of supernovae are of this type and they are not well understood,” said Zijlstra. “The fact that SN 1181 was weak but faded very slowly applies to this guy. This is the only event that can examine both the remaining nebulae and the merged stars with a description of the explosion itself. . “

For Zijlstra and the team it was a satisfactory effort for everyone involved to be able to resolve this cold cosmic incident.

“When you combine all of this information like age, location, event brightness, and historically recorded 185-day period, you will find that Parker’s Star and Pa30 are SN 1181. Stars and nebulae are possible. It’s great to be able to solve both historical and astronomical mysteries, ”he said.

Analysis: Science never really stops, even if scientists are long dead

The great thing about something like a Chinese guest actor is that it reminds us that science, more than anything, is a process.

Almost a thousand years ago, astronomers recorded observations of inexplicable phenomena and left them to scientists to pick up and study 1,000 years later.

Scientists today make all sorts of observations and conclusions that cannot yet be explained. Decades or centuries later, scientists will be able to explain at some point, especially in future-oriented areas such as quantum mechanics and theoretical physics.

Therefore, the collection of this data is an important part of the scientific process and supports even if we cannot explain it or start with it during our lifetime. Well worth doing.

Astronomers are finally solving the mystery of the famous 900 year old Chinese supernova

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