Skip to comments.Mystery Behind Supernova SN 1006 Solved?
Posted on 10/09/2012 3:49:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Historical accounts from all over the world describe a spectacularly bright "guest star" in the night sky during the spring of 1006 -- what we now know as a supernova (SN 1006). Now astronomers think they have pinpointed the probable cause of that massive explosion, one thousand years later: a merging of two white dwarf stars.
SN 1006 made quite a splash on its debut around May 1, 1006, in the constellation Lupus (the Wolf) just south of Scorpio. The critics raved! Monks in a Benedictine abbey in Switzerland marveled at the star's brightness, and commented on the variability of its light, "sometimes contracted, sometimes diffused, and moreover sometimes extinguished" -- likely due to atmospheric conditions, since the star was visible fairly low in the southern horizon.
Chinese astronomers from that era described how the supernova's light was sufficient to illuminate objects on the ground. And in 2006, two astronomers speculated that a Native American petroglyph (rock carving) found in Arizona could depict the 1006 supernova event.
The carving showed an object resembling a star hovering over a scorpion symbol. (As cool as it sounds, the drawing is quite crude (see left) and several leading archaeoastronomers are highly skeptical of the claim.)
The Egyptian/Arabic physician and astronomer Ali ibn Ridwan noted that "the sky was shining" from the light of SN 1006, adding, "the intensity of its light was a little more than a quarter than of moon light." He also compared its brightness as being three times greater than Venus.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.discovery.com ...
Composite image of SN 1006 remnant, combining x-ray, optical, and radio data. Sources: NASA/Chandra (x-ray); NRAO/AUI/NSF/GBT/VLA (radio); NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO (optica).
Thanks Renfield. An ‘extra, extra’ ping to APoD members.
Whoops, I forgot, I was going to include you in one of those pings. [blush]
The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization
by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
Merging of Two White Dwarves?
“Two white dwarves, joined by gravity, dying together in a spectacular burst of energy”
Such drama! LOL
Sounds like this supernova was the brightest in civilized times. Good thing it didn’t happen 7 years earlier during the Y1K craziness, it would have scared people to death.
(thanks for the star ping)