In AD 1054, a nearby star ran out of fuel and exploded in a dazzling supernova explosion.Although 6,500 light-years away, the explosion is clearly visible above Earth The next 23 days and hundreds of nights.
explosion, now called No. 1054, it was so bright that Chinese astronomers dubbed it a “guest star,” while astronomical observers in Japan, Iraq, and possibly the Americas recorded the explosion’s sudden appearance in words and stones.But in Europe – at that time mainly by Byzantine Constantine IX and the Church of Christ – the huge and dazzling explosion in the sky is never mentioned, not even once.
why not? Is the church simply ignoring this spontaneous star, or is it a more sinister conspiracy to cover up the cosmic reality at work?Clues to the answer may be hiding in an unexpected place: limited edition, according to new research gold coin.
In a study published in the August 2022 issue European Journal of Science and Theology, a team of researchers analyzed a series of four Byzantine gold coins minted during the reign of Constantine IX from 1042 to 1055 AD. While three of the coins show only one star, the authors believe that the fourth coin shows two bright stars framing the emperor’s head – possibly a subtle and possibly heretical depiction of the 1054 supernova.
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According to the team’s explanation, the emperor’s avatar may represent sunthe representative of the Oriental Star Venus – a frequently visible daytime object, also known as the “Morning Star” – and the western star represents SN 1054, which has been visible in the daytime sky opposite Venus for nearly a month. The team added that the two stars may also represent the warring Orthodox and Western Catholic churches, which split from each other in an event called the Great Schism in July 1054.
If this explanation is correct, and the rare coin does show SN 1054, then it suggests that Byzantine scholars may have been barred from researching or writing about supernovae due to religious restrictions. In essence, the church may have a “philosophical bias” against any observed changes in the supposedly perfect and eternal night sky, the researchers wrote in the paper. Combined with the divisive chaos of the time, church officials may have thought it prudent to simply ignore the supernova. But at least one smart academic may have found a way around censorship.
“Given the Church’s stance on astronomy/astronomy, there will be a strong incentive not to report the occurrence of any events that might threaten the status quo of theology/astronomy – including apparent supernovae,” the study authors wrote. “Perhaps Constantine One of the ways in which a brilliant astronomer at the University of Constantinople, King IX, recorded the event was by using a cipher, in this case a special edition minted coin minted after the 1054 event.”
The researchers also visited various museum collections to study 36 copies of the two-star coin, which brought up another peculiar detail. The size of the western star shown on the coin is not uniform, but appears to have shrunk over time — possibly meaning SN 1054 in Earth’s sky is gradually dimming.
The study authors acknowledge that these are reasonable assumptions, although concrete evidence is lacking. The size and arrangement of the stars on the coin could represent something else entirely, just coincidentally with the appearance of a supernova. In addition, none of the 36 coins examined had a firm date, so it’s impossible to tell whether they were minted before or after the supernova.
Today, SN 1054 is still visible as the Crab Nebula – although you need a really good telescope to see it properly The beauty of crustaceansLuckily for astronomers, no emperor prevented them from studying this fascinating object.
Originally published on Live Science