HISTORICAL GALACTIC SUPERNOVAE
The following table lists known and probable supernovae that
have occurred in our galaxy in the last two thousand years. It is
very unlikely to be a complete list. Historical records cannot
always allow precise identification of an object as a supernove
(eg a possible guest star in Chinese records in 369 is not listed
due to insufficient details). Over 250 galactic supernova remnants
are known. Recent research also indicates a
mean galactic rate of supernovae at one per 50 years. Most of these
are not seen due to dust obscuration. Although supernova
leave behind a remnant, only in two cases has identification been
precise enough to allow inclusion in the table without an historical
record. And both of these are within the last 350 years.
||-9||P 1459 -41||7000||4|
||<-1 ||Tycho's SN 3C10||8000||7|
- Identified from one Chinese historical record. Probably near
Alpha Centauri. Interpretation doubts indicate may have been
visible for either 8 or 20 months. G320.4-1.2 has also
been suggested as the remnant associated with this event.
- Only reported in Chinese records. Position very imprecise.
- Only reported by Chinese records. The duration of 8 months
makes the identification with a supernova likely, but several
supernova remnants around the reported asterism make identification
- Reported in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and European documents.
Probably the brightest supernova in the last 1000 years.
- The Crab Nebula is visible in optical, radio and X-ray telescopes.
There is a pulsar near the centre of the nebula. Distance
is obtained from radial and proper motions, and thus well defined.
- Only faint filaments are visible optically, but visible in
radio and X-ray wavelengths. Central pulsar present.
- This famous supernovae is associated with the Danish astronomer
Tycho Brae. Only faint optical filaments are now visible.
- This famous supernova is associated with the German scientist
Johannes Kepler. Only faint optical filaments now visible.
- This supernova was not observed, probably due to obscuration by
a dust cloud. Its date, which is not precise, was determined
the expansion of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A which is
a very strong radio source.
- This surmised supernova was defined by radio and X-ray observations.
The date, which is only within +/- 30 years, was computed from
the expansion observed between radio and X-ray observations in 1985 and 2007.
Undoubtedly not observed because of nearness to galactic centre (dust).
PRE-HISTORICAL GALACTIC SUPERNOVAE
The next table lists supernovae that are believed to
have occurred in our galaxy over four thousand years ago.
The evidence for these supernovae has come from remnants left behind
that have been observed in radio and/or optical telescopes.
- The Puppis supernova remnant overlaps the Vela remnant, as seen from Earth.
- Very close supernova. The remnant is a large
complex visible in radio, optical and X-ray with central pulsar.
Estimated to be around mag -12 (as bright as the full moon)
- This is also another very close supernova.
- Paul and Lesley Murdin, Supernova, Cambridge University
- David A Green & F Richard Stephenson, "The Historical Supernova",
in Supernovae and Gamma Ray Bursters edited by KW Weiler,
- D A Green, A Catalogue of Galactic Supernova Remnants (2006 April version),
Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, UK <www.mrao.cam.ac.uk/surveys/snrs/>
- SP Reynolds, KJ Borkowski, DA Green, U Hwang, I Harrus & R Petre,
"The Youngest Galactic Supernova Remnant: G1.9+0.3", 2008