Skip to comments.Sky 'Crucifix' in Ancient Text May Be Mystery-Solving Supernova
Posted on 07/01/2012 9:22:00 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
According to an Old English manuscript chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons, a mysterious "red crucifix" appeared in the "heavens" over Britain one evening in A.D. 774. Now astronomers say it may have been the supernova explosion that sprinkled unexplained traces of carbon-14 in tree rings that year, halfway around the world in Japan.
Jonathon Allen, an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, made the connection this week after listening to a Nature podcast. He heard a team of Japanese scientists discussing new research in which they measured an odd spike in carbon-14 levels in tree rings from the year A.D. 774 or 775. They thought the spike must have come from a burst of high-energy radiation striking the upper atmosphere and triggering an increase in the rate of carbon-14 formation...
...Allen, a biochemistry major with an interest in history... came across an English translation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a history of England written in the ninth century, with this line in the entry for A.D. 774: "This year also appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset."
...The connection is plausible, according to Geza Gyuk, an astronomer at Chicago's Adler Planetarium in Illinois, who has used the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to investigate past astronomical events...
The remains of a once-explosive supernova illuminate part of a nearby galaxy in this image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. CREDIT: NASA/ESA/HEIC/Hubble Heritage Team
(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...
An eerie "red crucifix" seen in Britain's evening sky in ad 774 may be a previously unrecognized supernova explosion -- and could explain a mysterious spike in carbon-14 levels in that year's growth rings in Japanese cedar trees. The link is suggested today in a Nature Correspondence by a US undergraduate student with a broad interdisciplinary background and a curious mind.
A few weeks ago, Jonathon Allen, a biochemistry major at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was listening to the Nature podcast when he heard about a team of researchers in Japan who had found an odd spike in carbon-14 levels in tree rings. The spike probably came from a burst of high-energy radiation striking the upper atmosphere, increasing the rate at which carbon-14 is formed.
But there was a problem: the only known causes of such radiation are supernova explosions or gigantic solar flares, and the researchers knew of no such events in ad 774 or 775, the dates indicated by the tree rings...
His long-standing interest in history was helpful, he notes. "I knew that going that far back, there's very limited written history," he says. "The only things I'd ever seen or heard of were religious texts and 'chronicles' that listed kings and queens, wars and things of that nature."
His search found the eighth-century entries in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle at the Avalon Project, an online library of historical and legal documents hosted by Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Scrolling down to the year ad 774, Allen found a reference to a "red crucifix" that appeared in the heavens "after sunset". [Ancient text gives clue to mysterious radiation spike]
Historical texts like the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle often refer to astronomical events. [ Mary Evans Picture Library ]
A Celestial Collision
Alaska Science Forum | February 10, 1983 | Larry Gedney
Posted on 09/15/2004 9:04:28 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Astronomers unravel a mystery of the Dark Ages
EurekAlert | 3-Feb-2004 | Dr Derek Ward-Thompson
Posted on 02/03/2004 2:54:24 PM PST by ckilmer
The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization
by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
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Have a great Sunday, and I hope your coming week is great.
Jonathon Allen discusses his discovery with the Nature podcast team.
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It's Always Something. (IAS)
I am not an astrophysicist but seems to me that the radiation from a supernova should arrive some time after the light produced from the supernova. Things with mass like protons and neutron travel slightly slower than the speed of light
So attributing the C-14 in tree rings of the same year in Japan seems a stretch.
Also should there not be extra C-14 world wide from such an event.
The radiation from a super nova should strike the entire planet or at least the extra C-14 created in the upper atmosphere should be fairly evenly distributed as is disperses to lower altitudes.
There might be, but others elsewhere may not have looked specifically at that time frame.
Carbon-14, a radioactive version of a carbon atom with six protons and eight neutrons, forms when gamma rays from space strip atmospheric atoms of their neutrons, which then collide with the isotope nitrogen-14 and cause it to radioactively decay into carbon-14.
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Did he imagine, as he shot that scene, that he’d win the Oscar some day?
For that matter, did the actor who played “Booger” in “Revenge of the Nerds”?
I'm not a scientist either, but any thinking person would also think C-14 would be everywhere, not just in Japan's cedar trees.
Besides, I thought C-14 had a constant decay rate and now they are saying it can be added after every stellar event? That would seem to change numbers everywhere and skew all kinds of numbers.
We KNOW the dates of some events because it is in recorded history. If we have stellar events between then and now, it looks like we could Measure C-14 from that period to check to see if there was a date skew in the measurements.
I think someone is looking for grant money instead of a job.
I'm not a scientist either, but any thinking person would also think C-14 would be everywhere...and, that's exhibit A into why you're not a scientist, or have any interest in becoming one.
The C-14 was not propelled directly from the supernova, but was formed here when the wave of radiation from the supernova passed through. If memory serves, gamma will cause a lot more of that isotope to form all at one time, resulting in a weird “spike.”
I highly recommend the book that SunkenCiv has linked to. Forestone explains a great deal in it about the processes involved in supernova effects and Earth.
An interesting theory. And plausable to me.
A cross shape would suggest some kind of diffraction effect in the atmosphere. This sounds more like a combination of lots of atmospheric dust and a sun-dog.
a mysterious "red crucifix" appeared in the "heavens" over Britain one evening in A.D. 774 made by two 747`s
I read something about this very theory at least a month ago. Was it something you posted or something on Phys.org I read?
It was on The Register in the UK on June 5th:
Look at the post by “Resound” at 5:52 GMT.
This guy beat Mr Allen’s podcast.
Also noted by this blog that day:
The Nature podcast was from June 7th. Mr. Allen is NOT the first person to find this.
This guy should get out more.
Interesting, but rather slim evidence. I wonder if astronomers can pin-point a super nova appearance that year.
[snip] I read something about this very theory at least a month ago. Was it something you posted or something on Phys.org I read? [/snip]
There’s a post, somewhere on FR, that I read literally in the past couple of days, before I saw this “red crucifix” thing, someone could recall learning (years ago) about some kind of celestial phenom (comet, meteor/ite, supernova) that appeared to lead to the Black Death, I think it was. :’) Wish I knew where. Someone asked me in open thread if I knew what it was.
Yeah, I resemble that remark. For that matter, it’s the very basis for the success of the worldwide web...
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