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Astronomy

Clue to an ancient cosmic-ray event?

Nature volume 486, page 473 (28 June 2012) | Download Citation

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It is tempting to speculate that the ancient text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle might offer a clue to the cause of the mysterious, dramatic cosmic-ray event in AD 774 (F. Miyake et al. Nature 486, 240–242; 2012).

A chronicle entry for the same year (see go.nature.com/wwkw5j) hints at the presence of a supernova largely hidden behind a dust cloud, which would scatter and absorb all light bar a trickle of red. The resulting supernova remnant would be invisible.

The entry notes: “This year also appeared in the heavens a red crucifix, after sunset; the Mercians and the men of Kent fought at Otford; and wonderful serpents were seen in the land of the South-Saxons.”

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  1. University of California, Santa Cruz, California, USA.

    • Jonathon Allen

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Correspondence to Jonathon Allen.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/486473e

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