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Prehistoric Native Americans may have carved a record of a supernova explosion that appeared in the skies a millennium ago into a rock in Arizona, US.
The Arizonan petroglyph may depict the supernova of 1006 AD - the star symbol is on the right and the constellation Scorpius on the left (Image: John Barentine, Apache Point Observatory)
It depicts a scorpion and an eight-pointed star. "I had just been reading about the supernova of AD 1006 and I knew it appeared in the constellation Scorpius, so the connection flashed into my mind."
To make his case, Barentine and his colleague Gilbert A. Esquerdo, at the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, used planetarium software to recreate the sky as it would have appeared in Arizona during the supernova's appearance and overlaid it with photographs from the site.