Earth and Space

Naked-eye supernovae

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

The historical astronomical records from ancient China and Japan are believed to contain eight observations of supernovae and, impressively, are estimated to be 70% complete if naked-eye supernovae occur once every 175 years. Following the observations of supernovae in 1572 and 1604 by Brahe, Kepler and others, it is claimed that there has only been one further naked-eye supernova. This event occurred on the night of 23-24 February 1987 and was seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud.


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