Ancient Rock Art in Kashmir Shows Evidence of Supernova

In the vast expanse of our celestial canvas, celestial wonders occasionally diverge from the routine dance of the Moon and the Sun. One such extraordinary spectacle is the aftermath of a star’s explosive demise, known as a supernova. Presenting a captivating twist, Indian astronomers have proffered a thought-provoking revelation – a millennia-old carving etched onto a rock that potentially captures the resplendent aftermath of an ancient supernova.

Unearthing a Celestial Story: Supernova Carving in Kashmir’s Ancient Rock Art

Intriguingly discovered in the modern-day Kashmir region of South Asia, this enigmatic carving is a captivating window into the past. Amidst its intricate depictions, two luminous entities akin to the sun’s rays emerge, nestled alongside a captivating hunting scene.

Co-author of the study, the distinguished astrophysicist Mayank Vahia from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research at Idiadia, opines that the celestial tableau portrayed therein is a testament to the cosmos. Evidently, the prospect of dual suns adorning the firmament is an astronomical impossibility, thereby bolstering the hypothesis that our forebears ingeniously etched the aftermath of a supernova.

Unraveling the Supernova Carving’s Secrets

Delving into the annals of astronomical history, a plethora of supernovas have graced our skies. Amongst the annals of such celestial phenomena is a prominent instance, dating back to 185 AD in China, where a luminous “guest star” dazzled the heavens for an astounding eight months before waning into obscurity.

However, the labyrinthine realm of rock art poses a greater challenge for archaeologists, transcending the straightforward records of yore, as exemplified by the Chinese chronicle.

Cosmic Chronology: A Journey Through Time and Space

In their relentless pursuit to decode this cryptic narrative, a cadre of diligent researchers embarked on a quest to unearth supernovae that may have adorned the skies above the Burzahama vicinity. Their scrutiny spans the epoch between 10,000 BC and 2,000 BC, unearthing a mere pair of supernovae that graced this temporal window. Through meticulous analysis, the venerable researchers concluded that the ancient carving preserves the vestiges of the elder of the duo – the illustrious HB9.

An Artistic Ode to Celestial Hunt

Photograph of stone carving from Burzahom. Credit: IGCNA

It is within the very strokes of this prehistoric artwork that a compelling chronicle unfolds. Radiating with brilliance, one of the luminous motifs encapsulates the essence of the HB9 supernova, while the other mirrors the effulgence of the full moon. Going beyond mere depiction, the carving beckons to a celestial ballet of constellations – Taurus, the formidable bull, locked in a cosmic pas de deux with Orion, the intrepid hunter. In its essence, this rock art transcends artistic representation, potentially manifesting as the earliest known star chart of the region.

Illuminating the Past: A Celestial Overture in the Indian Journal of the History of Science

This captivating hypothesis, akin to a celestial melody, now reverberates within the pages of the esteemed Indian Journal of the History of Science. Amidst scholarly discourse, it assumes its rightful place as an intriguing conjecture, an echo of an age when the boundaries between terrestrial and celestial were less distinct. As this stellar narrative continues to captivate minds and kindle the flame of curiosity, it invites us to ponder the ancient dance of stars and the human quest to comprehend the cosmos.

The theory has been published in the  Indian Journal of the History of Science .

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