A star twinkles for eons, then suddenly shines brighter than any other heavenly object save the sun and moon. It’s a supernova, the titanic explosion of a great star somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy. The show in the sky can last for days or weeks. One such stellar event, recorded around the globe in 1006, is thought to have been recorded in Arizona by an ancient Hohokam stargazer who depicted the event in rock art, said two astronomers, John Barentine of Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and Gilbert A. Esquerdo, research assistant with the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson. The two scientists presented their theory at the American Astronomical Society meeting this week in Calgary, Alberta. ‘The supernova of 1006 was perhaps the brightest such event visible from Earth for thousands of years, reaching the brightness of a quarter moon at peak,’ Barentine explained. The discovery, if confirmed, shows that those here then were aware of changes in the night sky and commemorated them in a cultural record. The rock art, or petroglyph, on a 2-foot-by-18-inch rock, is produced by chiseling an image into a stone with another stone, Barentine said in […]

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