Ancient Arabic Text Shines Light on Massive Supernova

From Smithsonian Magazine by Jason Daley:

“In 1006 A.D., a new star appeared, lighting the skies in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and perhaps even North America. Many spotted the glowing orb. And though they didn’t know it at the time, these lucky ancient observers were gazing at one of the brightest supernovas ever recorded, now cataloged as SN 1006.

Modern astrophysicists have learned a great deal from the records of many of these ancient observers, including astronomer Ali ibn Ridwan in Egypt and the Benedictine monks at the Abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland. In recent years, astronomers have also taken pictures of the remnants of the explosion, 7,200 light years from Earth in the constellation Lupus.

But those ancient sources still have more to tell. Ralph Neuhäuser, an astrophysicist at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany recently found another account of the supernova in an Arabic text that may provides new insight into the explosion.”



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