Tech & Science, Supernova, Ancient China, Ancient Supernovae, Star Mergers, White Dwarfs, Nebula, Astronomy

Tech & Science, Supernova

Scientists solve centuries-long mystery of weird light that puzzled astronomers

Early Chinese astronomers thought the flashes of light in the sky were stars that appeared briefly then vanished.

9/20/2021 3:45:00 PM

Early Chinese astronomers thought the flashes of light in the sky were stars that appeared briefly then vanished.

Early Chinese astronomers thought the flashes of light in the sky were stars that appeared briefly then vanished.

behind AD 1181 due to its close proximity, but its was ruled out because of its age and close observations. The team said that this left"no other viable candidate known for the remnant."That was until the team, which included researchers from the U.K., Spain, France, and Hungary, considered the nebula Pa 30. They found the gas and dust that comprise this nebula was spreading at 684 miles per second. This told them that the nebula was created around 1,000 years ago. Considering this and the nebula's distance from Earth puts it in the correct time frame to be spotted by early astronomers in 1181.

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Pa 30 had previously been considered to be created as the result of a collision between two dense stars called white dwarfs. These degenerate stars form when smallerstarsburn up their nuclear fuel and begin to dim towards the end of their lives. This results in the loss of their outer layers and a remaining core of dense material.

This type of collision results in a form of stellar explosion called Type Iax supernova, which is notable because it is dimmer than more common Type Ia supernovas.If that is indeed the cause of this nebula and SN 1181, it marks only the second time such a collision has been discovered in our galaxy.

"Pa 30 now provides an excellent, viable candidate for the SN 1181 eruption that fits the location, the age, the brightness, and even the visible duration given its likely Type Iax nature," the authors said."[SN 1181] is also the first recorded supernova Type Iax event in the Galaxy of which there are now perhaps fully two cases known."

An illustration of Kepler’s supernova, which is unrelated to the story. Astronomers have discovered that a supernova spotted by Chinese and Japanese astronomers was the result of a collision between two white dwarfs. Read more: Newsweek »

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It was spotted 840 years ago but actually occurred how long ago?

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