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Ancient stone carving may depict supernova


Posted on Thursday, 11 January, 2018 | Comment icon 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 | Comments (16)

Tags: Supernova

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Peter B on 12 January, 2018, 13:10
Well, if it depicts a supernova, it may well "...describe an event which took place in our own galaxy". And if so, what if it does? What's the reason for your question?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Peter B on 12 January, 2018, 13:12
Why? Do you have a problem with the story? Obviously, without further evidence it's hard to judge the accuracy of the story, but presumably the scientists have some reason for considering the possibility a supernova was visible in that part of the sky 5000 years ago.
Comment icon #9 Posted by qxcontinuum on 14 January, 2018, 5:54
It will explain a few things such as Saturn's meteorites, mars loss of atmosphere, dinosaurs extinction caused by a meteorite. To complete my idea , the assumed supernova could have been a planetary event , a mass collision between two satelites around mars...
Comment icon #10 Posted by _KB_ on 14 January, 2018, 14:44
Because there is nothing in that drawing to indicate that... there's also nothing to indicate that it didn't happen, but the former is more important...
Comment icon #11 Posted by Peter B on 20 January, 2018, 5:50
?? So when you say "... an event which took place in our own galaxy..." you actually mean "an event which took place in our own solar system? Having said that, I suppose it's possible it could be an illustration of something that happened in our solar system. But the thing is, even if it was, such an event would be unlikely to explain the things you've listed. Mars lost its thicker atmosphere billions of years ago, and the extinction of the dinosaurs was tens of millions of years ago; in other words, long before humans existed and long before the carving was made.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Peter B on 20 January, 2018, 6:04
Are you qualified to judge that? In any case, as the article linked in the OP points out, the figures in the carving can be exactly related to the adjacent constellations of Orion, Taurus, Cetus and Andromeda/Pegasus; and the carving does appear to show two suns up the top. So I'd call that a little more than "nothing". Plus, the authors of the study are hardly claiming to have made a definitive interpretation, given that the word "may" is used several times. It's evidence-based speculation, and I don't have a problem with that. The next step would be to ask, if this is true then what other su... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by qxcontinuum on 22 January, 2018, 3:45
Not really. There was an article here on this forum announcing a recent discovery of the Saturn's rings age. They said the meteorite fragments are no older than 40.000 years.  Think about it. Whatever happened it was intense to the point it wiped out Mars atmosphere and likely impacted life in earth. We believe we have knowledge of everything and we date back events to million of years but perhaps they could be erroneous. Modern science seems to revel a lot we though we knew...
Comment icon #14 Posted by Peter B on 22 January, 2018, 13:20
?? I've thought about it, but I don't get it. Why is it that these events must have happened at the same time? Mars's loss of atmosphere has been fairly solidly dated to billions of years ago, not a few thousand years ago. And if Saturn's rings are as young as you say (a link would be handy), 40000 years is still an order of magnitude older than the carving.
Comment icon #15 Posted by TripGun on 23 January, 2018, 16:57
Is everyone overlooking the flying wolf? I think this holds greater implications.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Piney on 23 January, 2018, 17:15
It's probably a hunting dog in the background. Among Algonquian petrographs drawing something a little bit above indicated it was probably behind.


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