Rock Art May Be Oldest Supernova Ever Recorded


Astrophysicist Mayank Vahia and his colleagues at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research mentioned in their study that after some research, they learned about the occurrence of a supernova between 4100 BC to 2100 BC.

They investigated the possibility that the rock drawing is the record of the supernova HB9 and found that only one Supernova remnant HB9 meets all the criteria and it exploded around 4500 BC with a brightness comparable to the brightness of the Moon.

Mankind has been curious about heavens above and the heavenly bodies since a very long time.

"In view of its almost circular shape and same horizontal position of the two objects, comets, halos, and terrestrial events also seem unlikely", the study paper stated. The most common form of early expression of this date back to nearly 20,000 years is in the form of cave paintings and stone etchings. Initially, the animals and humans appear to be part of a hunting scene, but research by several scientists theorizes that the figures represent star patterns and that the two bright object are a sun or moon and a supernova.

"We suggest that the partially drawn object is HB9 since it would be irregular and that the second bright object is Moon since the apparent magnitude of HB9 is closer to that of the Moon", Joglekar said. In the carving, one of the bright lights would represent this supernova and the other the full moon.

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In an astonishing discovery, scientists claim to have found the oldest human record of supernova carved on a stone. The oldest confirmed example is a Chinese reference to a "guest star" that appeared in the sky in the year 185 AD and stuck around for eight months before fading away.

Vahia is confident enough to find more such stones from the region.

Although the team says this would make the rock art one of the oldest sky charts to be discovered, the theory is highly debatable and could even be a coincidence.

The slab was recovered from phase Ib of the site reutilized for a larger structure with inscribed surface facing interior of the structure (Pande, 1971; Agrawal and Kusumgar, 1965). The rock art depicts a sky with two bright objects in it and figures of animals and humans below.

And according to the Indian team, the rest of the carving is also an astronomical record: That theory argues that it doesn't simply show a hunting scene, it shows the celestial hunting scene formed by the constellations Taurus, the bull, and Orion, the hunter. Few such candidate pairs of stars have also been suggested.