Supernova event recorded in the Earth’s ice

Neat! New details about a claim I remember being made at the beginning of this decade:

“Chinese and Arabic astronomers left historical documentation of a supernova that occurred in our own galaxy in the year 1006 (SN 1006), and another one 48 years later (SN 1054). Some of the writings about SN 1006 say there was a visual explosion half the size of the moon, and it shone so brightly that objects on the ground could be seen at night. We know these writings weren’t just fantastical imaginations because we now have the ‘leftovers’ of these supernovae; Supernova Remnant 1006 and the Crab Nebula. But now there is more evidence. A team of Japanese scientists has found the first evidence of supernovae in an ice core sample.”

Read the full article here.

The short version is that scientists are able to observe Nitrogen Oxide spikes in multiple ice core samples at depths that correspond to the dates of known super-nova events. (There’s also evidence of a third, unrecorded event as well.)

The next interesting question – which isn’t answered in this article and perhaps hasn’t been studied yet – is whether or not these super-nova events had any effect on the Sun and/or Earth’s magnetic fields and the Sun’s flux levels.

If they do, that might help explain some of the odd non-cyclical climate changes that occur for no apparent cause. (Perhaps the Sun’s fusion rate is perturbed by a massive flux of elementary particles from a nearby supernova or x-ray burster event.)

Author: Nick Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...