In an astonishing discovery, scientists claim to have found the oldest human record of supernova carved on a stone. The stunning find comes from India where researchers have spotted markings on 5,000 years old rock unearthed in Burzahama region in Kashmir, that shows two bright objects in the sky and a hunting scene.
According to study authors, the rock dating back to 2100 BC was found in Kashmir, but no one recognised it’s importance and it was reused in the construction of another structure. However, Astrophysicist Mayank Vahia and his colleagues at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research noticed that the Burzahama might have a history as old as 4100 BC, therefore, the stone could have been over 5 thousand years old.
Vahia was amused by the two bright objects drawn on the stone. Earlier, researchers thought it to be just an imaginary scene or a picture drawn according to mythologies. Apparently, Vahia and his colleagues guessed it to be a supernova and along with sun in the strange picture where few peoples are hunting down a dear-like animal under two bright objects.
Earlier, scientists thought it to be Moon and Sun. The theory was negated as both the celestial bodies can’t get so close to each other as depicted in the picture. Also, the moon would appear very dim in the presence of the sun.
In order to find out the truth, Vahia and his team traced if any supernova occurred between 4100 BC to 2100 BC, and they were successful as a supernova HB9 had exploded around 3600 BC.
“We, therefore, investigate the possibility that the rock drawing is the record of the supernova HB9. We suggest that the partially drawn object is HB9 since it would be irregular and that the second bright object is Moon since the apparent magnitude of HB9 is closer to that of the Moon,” Vahia said in the study.
“We suggest that this is not a terrestrial hunting scene but is actually a sky-map giving the location of prominent constellations and the Moon on the day the supernova was first observed.”
The picture carved on the stone is not a hunting scene instead entities represent constellations. According to the study authors, hunters represent Orion, deer represents Taurus, man holding the spear belongs to Pisces and the other animal on the right may be Andromeda and Pegasus.
For readers those who don’t know, a supernova occurs in the last evolutionary stages of a massive star where the star explodes emitting a tremendous amount of light into the universe before meeting its death. Supernova is one of the most energetic and brightest events in the universe. Till date, scientists have discovered only three naked-eye supernovae in the Milky Way; although they have witnessed several others in distant galaxies through telescopes.
What’s striking is that people were able to identify the supernova nearly 5,000 years ago when they had very little knowledge about the stars, planets, and how celestial bodies function in the universe.
Vahia is confident enough to find more such stones from the region.