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Space Earth Science

First Evidence of Supernovae Found In Ice Cores 145

KentuckyFC writes "Supernovae in our part of the Milky Way ought to have a significant impact on the atmosphere. In particular, the intense gamma-ray burst would ionize oxygen and nitrogen in the mid to upper atmosphere, increasing the levels of nitrogen oxide there by an order of magnitude or so. Now a team of Japanese researchers has found the first evidence of a supernova's impact on the atmosphere in an ice core taken from Dome Fuji in Antarctica. The team examined ice that was laid down in the 11th century and found three nitrogen oxide spikes, two of which correspond to well known supernovae: one event in 1006 AD and another in 1054 AD, which was the birth of the Crab Nebula (abstract). Both were widely reported by Chinese and Arabic astronomers at the time. The third spike is unexplained, but the team suggests it may have been caused by a supernova visible only from the southern hemisphere or one that was obscured by interstellar dust."
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First Evidence of Supernovae Found In Ice Cores

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  • Drill down deeper (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday February 23, 2009 @11:47PM (#26965473)
    I want to know if there was a supernova around the year 0 that would have been visible from the middle east...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2009 @11:51PM (#26965493)
    It's been heavily studied and ruled out as a major cause of global warming, however, it's not my field of study, so I can't say much more.
  • by mazarin5 ( 309432 ) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:55AM (#26966195) Journal

    This is especially so when your audience is a bunch of scholars, scientists, and enthusiasts that are in the know and recognize glaring mistakes like this.

    Or, rather, people who are already damn well aware of this fact. If somebody took the time to point this out in an astrophysics journal, I would assume that they were either being paid by the word, or an exceptionally patronizing person.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:04AM (#26966239)

    This was a central piece of evidence in Charles Hapgood's theory of crustal displacement. That theory has been pretty well debunked, the evidence that works in favor of continental drift works against crustal displacement. Similarly, the ice cores from Antartica are datable both by depth and by debris and gasses trapped inside.

    Of the Piri Reis map itself, it has some innaccuracies, and seems to have been cobbled together from other maps, but it does have a level of accuracy concerning the New World that one wouldn't expect in a 1500s map. The most likely explanation, assuming the map is not simply a hoax or put together in error, is that certain bits were copied from vastly older maps.

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