Ancient rock drawing could be oldest image of a supernova

CNET | 1/9/2018 | Leslie Katz
jenny1246 (Posted by) Level 3
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A copy of the stone carving superimposed on a sky map of HB9's region. A newly published paper on the drawing surmises the object on the left is the supernova and the one on the right the moon.

A hunter spears an animal beneath two bright celestial objects.

Glance - Stone - Drawing - Team - Scientists

At first glance, it looks like your average prehistoric stone drawing. But if a team of scientists is right, it could be one of the earliest known depictions of a supernova.

The carving was found in the Burzahama region in Kashmir, India, in the 1960s and is believed to date back to between 2100 and 4100 BC.

Drawing - Figure - Objects - Sun - Moon

The drawing shows a stick figure underneath two light-emitting objects that have previously been interpreted as either the sun and the moon or two stars in close proximity. But a new paper published in the Indian Journal of the History of Science (PDF) makes a case that the carving depicts the moon next to a supernova. And not just any stellar explosion. A specific one.

A photograph of the stone carving found at Burzahom, along with a sketch of it.

Scientists - Tata - Institute - Fundamental - Research

Scientists from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai and Astrophysikalisches Institut in Potsdam, Germany, carefully studied the objects etched into the rock and concluded they couldn't be two suns (since we only have one and, well, Tattooine hadn't hit screens yet). In addition, the objects "cannot be sun and moon since, with such proximity to the sun, the moon would be in a partial phase around the new and hence not very bright," the paper says.

Going on the theory that the drawing showed a supernova,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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