Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 March 28
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1006 AD: Supernova in the Sky
Credit & Copyright: TunÁ Tezel

Explanation: A new star, likely the brightest supernova in recorded human history, appeared in planet Earth's sky in the year 1006 AD. The expanding debris cloud from the stellar explosion is still visible to modern astronomers, but what did the supernova look like in 1006? Astronomer TunÁ Tezel offers this suggestion, based on a photograph he took on February 22, 1998 from a site overlooking the Mediterranean south of Antalya, Turkey. On that date, bright Venus and a waning crescent Moon shone in the early morning sky. Adopting recent calculations which put the supernova's apparent brightness between Venus and the crescent Moon, he digitally superposed an appropriate new star in the picture. He placed the star at the supernova's position in the southerly constellation of Lupus and used the water's reflection of moonlight in the final image. Tezel hopes to view the total solar eclipse of 29 March 2006 from this same site -- on the 1,000th anniversary of Supernova 1006.

Tomorrow's picture: The Shadow

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