Archaeology & History
Ancient stone carving may depict supernova
By T.K. Randall
January 11, 2018 · 16 comments
Did the ancients observe a supernova in the sky ? Image Credit: CC BY 4.0 ESO/M. Kornmesser
Scientists have identified what they believe to be the first known depiction of an exploding star.
Originally discovered in the Himalayan territory of Kashmir during the 1960s, the carving (see below), which dates back around 5,000 years, appears to depict a traditional hunting scene with two tribesman chasing a bull with a bow and spear while two 'suns' shine down on them from high above.
Now however, by looking back at astronomical events that might have been visible to the original artists, Indian astrophysicist Mayank Vahia and his team have put forward a fascinating new theory which suggests that the second 'sun' might actually be a supernova.
Not only that, but the researchers also believe that the figures themselves may be star constellations.
"The whole hunting scene... fits quite well into the pattern of stars in the sky," Vahia wrote.
"The image of one of the hunters coincides with the Orion; the central stag is same as the Taurus. The hunter on the right may have been formed from stars of Cetus and other animal on the right may be Andromeda and Pegasus. The long, curved line in the carving, traditionally interpreted as spear, may well be an arc of bright stars."
If true, this would make this rock carving the oldest known sky chart in history.
Source: Russia Today
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