Astronomers finally solve mystery of famous 900-year-old Chinese supernova

The 900-year-old mystery 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 have been as bright as Saturn and visible in the night sky for six months.

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

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

The team observes that the nebula is expanding 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.

(Image credit: University of Hong Kong)

Using this speed, astronomers were able to trace back to what is known as Parker’s Star and determined that it was created by a supernova around 1,000 years ago. Being a guest artist in China observed here on Earth.

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

Parker’s star and Pa30 are said to be the result of the fusion of two white dwarfs. This produces 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,” Zijlstra said. “The fact that SN 1181 was weak but faded very slowly applies to this guy. It is the only event that can study both the remaining nebulae and the merged stars, with a description of the explosion itself. . “

For Zijlstra and the team, being able to resolve this cold cosmic incident was a satisfying effort for everyone involved.

“If you combine all of this information, such as age, location, lightness of the event and the historical period of 185 days, you will see that Parker’s star and Pa30 correspond to SN 1181. The 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 though scientists are long dead

What’s great about something like a Chinese guest artist is that it reminds us that science is a process more than anything else.

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

Today scientists are making all kinds of observations and inferences that cannot yet be explained. Especially in cutting edge fields such as quantum mechanics and theoretical physics, scientists decades or centuries later will finally be able to explain.

Therefore, recording this data is an important part of the scientific process and supports even if we cannot explain it or do anything with it in our lifetime. Is it worth it.

Astronomers finally solve mystery of famous 900-year-old Chinese supernova

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