Astronomy, Pythagorean Astronomy

Pythagorean Astronomy: Supernova Detective Story

The supernova remnant Pa 30. Left: infrared; Centre: Infrared (yellow/green), UV (blue), X-ray (contours); Right: optical light. Image credit: Fig 1 of Ritter et al. 2021.

Way back in 1181 AD, astronomers in China and Japan recorded a “guest star” – something that we’d now call a supernova. Over 800 years later, astronomers made a connection between this ancient observation and more recent studies of a very unusual object that goes by the name of “Parker’s Star”.

Prof Quentin Parker, from University of Hong Kong, explains how he and his team made the link, displacing a previously favoured object. And it seems that this was no common or garden supernova, but an incredibly rare “Type 1ax” supernova.

An extended edition of an original broadcast on 30th September 2021 as part of Pythagoras’ Trousers on Radio Cardiff.