July 04, 2007
Supernova 1054

On July 4, 1054 A.D. a supernova appeared in the sky. It must have been a spectacular sight to those ancient sky watchers. Outshining the most brilliant stars in the heavens, it was even seen during daylight. Although such a brilliant object must have been seen by many around the world, what we know of this event comes mainly from the ancient Chinese chronicles.

What we now know as Messier 1, or the Crab Nebula, is the remnant of this supernova explosion. Although this nebula was discovered in 1731 by John Bevis, an amateur astronomer, and then independently rediscovered by Charles Messier in 1758, it was not until professional astronomers Hubble (1928) and Mayall (1939) wrote papers suggesting that the Chinese "guest star" of 1054 A.D. be interpreted as the supernova associated with the Crab Nebula. Since then, exhaustive searches to find historic corroborating references in the world literature have taken place.

Check out the entire history here.

Posted by Ellen at July 04, 2007 02:07 PM

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