A Brief History of High-Energy Astronomy: 1000 - 1499 Era


In Reverse Chronological Order

1460 - 1550 Radiocarbon (14C) analysis of tree rings and observations of the aurora borealis indicate a 90-year period of lower than average solar activity, now called the Spörer Minimum. This period was, likely not coincidentally, one with cooler than average global temperatures, implying that the solar luminosity was also reduced during this interval.
1408 Chinese and Japanese astronomers observe and record a `guest star' which is suspected to be the supernova explosion which produced the supernova remnant CTB 80 = SNR 069.0+02.7 (Wang et al. 1986, Highlights of Astronomy, 7, 583).
circa 1320 The supernova that nobody noticed? ROSAT discovered a previously unknown, relatively nearby (200-700 pc) supernova remnant (SNR) during its All-Sky Survey phase, RX J0852.0-4622, which appears to coincide with a Compton Observatory/COMPTEL gamma-ray source GRO J0852.0-4642. The latter appears to have an emission line due to radioactive 44Ti indicative of formation in a recent (680 years old) supernova, according to Iyudin et al. (2005, A&A, 429, 225). This age estimate coincides with a spike in nitrate concentration in an Antarctic ice core: a number of such spikes have been proposed to be results of the effect of nearby historical supernovae on the Earth's atmosphere (Burgess & Zuber 2000, Astroparticle Physics, 14, 1). The big puzzle is why there are no historical records of a supernova (see Ashenbach et al. 1999, A&A, 350, 997 for more discussion): Redman and Meaburn (2005, MNRAS, 356, 969) have noted that if the pulsar PSR J0855-4644 is the stellar remnant of the supernova, its off-center position within the SNR implies a much older age of at least 3000 years (well before the period when detailed astronomical records were made and/or have survived from).
1280 - 1350 Radiocarbon (14C) analysis of tree rings indicate a 70-year period of lower than average solar activity, now called the Wolf Minimum.
1181 Chinese and Japanese astronomers observe and record a `guest star' which is now considered to be the supernova explosion SN 1181 which produced the supernova remnant 3C 58 (SNR 130.7+03.1).
1066 The Norman invasion of England, led by William the Conqueror. The invasion is recorded in the Bayeux tapestry : among other features, the tapestry records the appearance of Halley's Comet (P1/Halley) around the time of the invasion.
4 Jul 1054 Chinese and Japanese astronomers observe and record a `guest star' which is now considered to be the supernova SN 1054 which produced the Crab Nebula (SNR 184.6-05.8).
1010 - 1080 Radiocarbon (14C) analysis of tree rings indicate a 70-year period of lower than average solar activity, now called the Oort Minimum.
1006 Chinese, Japanese, and possibly Korean astronomers observe and record a `guest star' which is now considered to be the supernova explosion SN 1006 , the brightest recorded supernova (with a maximum brightness brighter than that of Venus), which produced the supernova remnant SNR 327.6+14.6.


Return to main History of High-Energy Astronomy page


Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to this page: Jesse S. Allen, and Ian M. George along with JPL's Space Calendar and the Working Group for the History of Astronomy's Astronomiae Historia (History of Astronomy) information pages.


Web page author: Stephen A. Drake (based on an original by Jesse S. Allen)

Web page maintainer: Stephen A. Drake



HEASARC Home | Observatories | Archive | Calibration | Software | Tools | Students/Teachers/Public

Last modified: Tuesday, 25-Nov-2014 12:59:46 EST