SN 185

SN 185 was a transient astronomical event observed in AD 185, likely a supernova. The transient occurred in the direction of Alpha Centauri, between the constellations Circinus and Centaurus, centered at RA  14h 43m Dec −62° 30′, in Circinus. This "guest star" was observed by Chinese astronomers in the Book of Later Han (后汉书),[3] and might have been recorded in Roman literature.[2] It remained visible in the night sky for eight months. This is believed to be the first supernova for which records exist.

The Book of Later Han gives the following description:

In the 2nd year of the epoch Zhongping [中平], the 10th month, on the day Kwei Hae [December 7], a strange star appeared in the middle of Nan Mun [asterism containing Alpha Centauri], It was like a large bamboo mat. It displayed various colors, both pleasing and otherwise. It gradually lessened. In the 6th month of the succeeding year it disappeared.

The gaseous shell RCW 86 is probably the supernova remnant of this event and has a relatively large angular size of roughly 45 arc minutes[1] (larger than the apparent size of the full moon, which varies from 29 to 34 arc minutes). The distance to RCW 86 is estimated to be 2,800 parsecs (9,100 light-years).[1] Recent X-ray studies show a good match for the expected age.[4]

Infrared observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal how the supernova occurred and how its shattered remains ultimately spread out to great distances. The findings show that the stellar explosion took place in a hollowed-out cavity, allowing material expelled by the star to travel much faster and farther than it would have otherwise.[5]

Differing modern interpretations of the Chinese records of the guest star have led to quite different suggestions for the astronomical mechanism behind the event, from a core-collapse supernova[5] to a distant, slow-moving comet[6] – with correspondingly wide-ranging estimates of its apparent visual magnitude (−8 to +4). The recent Chandra results suggest that it was most likely a Type Ia supernova (a type with consistent absolute magnitude),[5][7] and therefore similar to Tycho's Supernova (SN 1572), which had apparent magnitude −4 at a similar distance.

RCW 86
Infrared images from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and WISE are combined with X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton Observatory in this image of RCW 86.
Supernova SN 185
Other designationsSN 185, SNR G315.0-02.3, SNR G315.4-02.3, 1ES 1436-62.4, 1RXS J144254.3-622815
Event typeSupernova remnant, supernova edit this on wikidata
Spectral classType Ia?
Date7 December 185
ConstellationCircinus and Centaurus
Right ascension 14h 43m
Declination−62° 30′
Galactic coordinatesG315.4−2.3
Distance2,800 pc (9,100 ly)[1]
HostMilky Way
Notable featuresAncient records of SN 185 may be the earliest written description of a supernova.
Peak apparent magnitude"as much as -8"[2]
Preceded byNone known
Followed bySN 386

See also


  1. ^ a b c Völk HJ; Berezhko EG; Ksenofontov LT (2005). "Magnetic field amplification in Tycho and other shell-type supernova remnants". Astron. Astrophys. 433 (1): 229–40. arXiv:astro-ph/0409453. Bibcode:2005A&A...433..229V. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20042015.
  2. ^ a b Stothers, Richard (1977). "Is the Supernova of A.D. 185 Recorded in Ancient Roman Literature?". Isis. 68 (3): 443–447. doi:10.1086/351822. JSTOR 231322.
  3. ^ Zhao FY; Strom RG; Jiang SY (2006). "The Guest Star of AD185 Must Have Been a Supernova". Chinese J. Astron. Astrophys. 6 (5): 635–40. Bibcode:2006ChJAA...6..635Z. doi:10.1088/1009-9271/6/5/17.
  4. ^ "New evidence links stellar remains to oldest recorded supernova". ESA News. 2006-09-18. Retrieved 2006-05-24.
  5. ^ a b c "NASA Telescopes Help Solve Ancient Supernova Mystery". NASA. 2011-10-24. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
  6. ^ Y.-N. Chin; Y.-L. Huang (29 September 1994). "Identification of the Guest Star of AD 185 as a comet rather than a supernova" (PS). Nature. pp. 398–399. Bibcode:1994Natur.371..398C. doi:10.1038/371398a0.
  7. ^ Williams, Brian J.; et al. (October 2011). "RCW 86: A Type Ia Supernova in a Wind-blown Bubble". The Astrophysical Journal. 741 (2): 96. arXiv:1108.1207. Bibcode:2011ApJ...741...96W. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/741/2/96.

External links


The 180s decade ran from January 1, 180, to December 31, 189.

== Events ==

=== 180 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Quadi are chased westwards, deeper into Germania. The Praetorian prefect, Tarutenius Paternus, achieves a decisive victory against the Germanic tribes.

March 17 – Emperor Marcus Aurelius dies after a week's illness at his camp in Vindobona (modern Vienna). He is succeeded by his son Commodus (age 18).

The Era of the Five Good Emperors ends.

Rome creates a 4-mile wide buffer zone by the Danube.

Work begins in Rome on the building of the Column of Marcus Aurelius.

180–395 – Late Empire in Rome.

Northern Brits from beyond Hadrian's Wall invade the North of modern-day England causing Emperor Commodus to allow swathes of Northern cities to establish city walls.

====== Europe ======

The Goths reach the banks of the Black Sea.

====== Oceania ======

Lake Taupo erupts, forming ash clouds as far as China and Europe.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

In his Methodus Medendo, Greek physician Galen describes the connection between paralysis and the severing of the spinal cord.

Galen's popular work on hygiene is published.

====== Religion ======

July 17 – Twelve Christian inhabitants of Scillium in Numidia are executed in Carthage (also in North Africa) (known as the Scillitan Martyrs) – they had refused to swear an oath to the Emperor.

Commodus creates an official cult of the Zoroastrian god Mithra.

=== 181 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Imperator Lucius Aurelius Commodus and Lucius Antistius Burrus become Roman Consuls.

The Antonine Wall is overrun in Britannia.

====== Oceania ======

The volcano associated with Lake Taupo in New Zealand erupts, one of the largest on Earth in the last 5,000 years. The effects of this eruption are seen as far away as Rome and China.

=== 182 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Marcus Petronius Sura Mamertinus and Quintus Tineius Rufus become Roman Consuls.

Emperor Commodus escapes death at the hands of assassins, who have attacked him at the instigation of his sister Lucilla and a large group of senators. He puts many distinguished Romans to death on charges of being implicated in the conspiracy; Lucilla is exiled to Capri.

=== 183 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

An assassination attempt on Roman Emperor Commodus by members of the Senate fails.

=== 184 ===

==== By place ====

====== China ======

The Yellow Turban Rebellion and Liang Province Rebellion break out in China.

The Disasters of the Partisan Prohibitions ends.

Zhang Jue leads the peasant revolt against Emperor Ling of the Eastern Han dynasty. Heading for the capital of Luoyang, his massive and undisciplined army (360,000 men), burns and destroys government offices and outposts.

June – Emperor Ling places his brother-in-law, He Jin, in command of the imperial army and sends them to attack the Yellow Turban rebels.

Winter – Zhang Jue dies of illness while his brothers Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang are killed in battles against Han imperial forces. The Yellow Turban rebels become scattered.

Last (6th) year of Guanghe era and start of Zhongping era of the Eastern Han dynasty.

====== Korea ======

King Gogukcheon (Gaonanwu) of Goguryeo (Gaogouli) pushes Chinese armies all the way back to Liaodong.

Beolhyu becomes king of Silla.

=== 185 ===

==== By place ====

====== Nepal Empire ======

The statue of King Jayavarma, the first King of Nepal is erected in Maligaon palatial grounds of Kathmandu, Nepal.

====== Roman Empire ======

Nobles of Britain demand that Commodus rescind all power given to Tigidius Perennis, who is eventually executed.

Publius Helvius Pertinax is made governor of Britain and quells a mutiny of the British Roman legions who wanted him to become emperor. The disgruntled usurpers go on to attempt to assassinate the governor.

Tigidius Perennis, his family and many others are executed for conspiring against Commodus.

Emperor Commodus drains Rome's treasury to put on gladiatorial spectacles and confiscates property to support his pleasures. He participates as a gladiator and boasts of victory in 1,000 matches in the Circus Maximus.

====== India ======

Reign in India of Vasudeva, Kushan emperor.

====== China ======

Zhi Yao, a Kushan Buddhist monk of Yuezhi ethnicity, translates Buddhist texts into the Chinese language during the Han Dynasty.

February – The rebels of the Yellow Turban are defeated by the imperial army, but only two months later, the rebellion breaks out again. It spreads to the Taihang Mountains on the western border of Hebei Province.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Cleomedes discovers the refraction of light by the Earth's atmosphere.

A supernova now known as SN 185 is noted by Chinese astronomers in the Astrological Annals of the Houhanshu, making it the earliest recorded supernova.

====== Religion ======

Irenaeus writes that there are only four Gospels (approximate date).

=== 186 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Peasants in Gaul stage an anti-tax uprising under Maternus.

Attempted assassination of Roman governor Pertinax by British usurpers.

====== New Zealand ======

The Hatepe volcanic eruption extends Lake Taupo and makes skies red across the world. However, recent radiocarbon dating by R. Sparks has put the date at 233 AD ± 13 (95% confidence).

=== 187 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Lucius Septimius Severus, (born in Leptis Magna), is named legate of Lyonnais (Gaul).

Septimius Severus marries a Syrian princess Julia Domna (age 17), she is the youngest daughter of high-priest Julius Bassianus, a descendant of the Royal House of Emesa. Her elder sister is Julia Maesa.

Another plague hits Rome.

Clodius Albinus defeats the Chatti, a highly organized German tribe that controlled the area that includes the Black Forest.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Olympians succeeds Pertinax as Patriarch of Constantinople.

=== 188 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Publius Helvius Pertinax becomes proconsul of Africa.

====== Japan ======

Queen Himiko (aka Pimiko) is said to have begun her reign in Japan.

=== 189 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Plague (possibly smallpox) kills as many as 2,000 people per day in Rome. Farmers are unable to harvest their crops and food shortages bring riots in the city.

====== China ======

Liu Bian succeeds Emperor Ling as Chinese emperor of the Han Dynasty.

Dong Zhuo has Liu Bian deposed and installs Emperor Xian as emperor.

Two thousand eunuchs in the palace are slaughtered in a violent purge in Luoyang, the capital of Han.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Galen publishes his "Treatise on the various temperaments" (aka On the Elements According to Hippocrates).

====== Religion ======

Pope Victor I succeeds Pope Eleuterus as the fourteenth pope, the first from Africa.

Demetrius of Alexandria becomes Patriarch of Alexandria.

Pantaenus, who was sent by the bishop of Alexandria to India to preach Christianity, meets with little success.


Year 185 (CLXXXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Lascivius and Atilius (or, less frequently, year 938 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 185 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

185 (number)

185 (one hundred [and] eighty-five) is the natural number following 184 and preceding 186.


Circinus is a small, faint constellation in the southern sky, first defined in 1756 by the French astronomer Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille. Its name is Latin for compass, referring to the drafting tool used for drawing circles (it should not be confused with Pyxis, a constellation that represents a mariner's compass which points north). Its brightest star is Alpha Circini, with an apparent magnitude of 3.19. Slightly variable, it is the brightest rapidly oscillating Ap star in the night sky. AX Circini is a Cepheid variable visible with the unaided eye, and BX Circini is a faint star thought to have been formed from the merger of two white dwarfs. Two sun-like stars have planetary systems: HD 134060 has two small planets, and HD 129445 has a Jupiter-like planet. Supernova SN 185 appeared in Circinus in 185 AD and was recorded by Chinese observers. Two novae have been observed more recently, in the 20th century.

The Milky Way runs through the constellation, featuring prominent objects such as the open cluster NGC 5823 and the planetary nebula NGC 5315. Circinus hosts a spiral galaxy, the Circinus Galaxy, which was discovered in 1977 and is the closest Seyfert galaxy to the Milky Way. The Alpha Circinids (ACI), a meteor shower also discovered in 1977, radiate from this constellation.

Guest star (astronomy)

In Chinese astronomy, a guest star (Chinese: 客星; pinyin: kèxīng; literally: 'guest star') is a star which has suddenly appeared in a place where no star had previously been observed and becomes invisible again after some time. The term is a literal translation from ancient Chinese astronomical records.

Modern astronomy recognizes that guest stars are manifestations of cataclysmic variable stars: novae and supernovae. The term "guest star" is used in the context of ancient records, since the exact classification of an astronomical event in question is based on interpretations of old records, including inference, rather than on direct observations.

In ancient Chinese astronomy, guest stars were one of the three types of highly transient objects (bright heavenly bodies); the other two (彗星, huixing, “broom star”, a comet with a tail; and xing bo, “fuzzy star”, a comet without a tail) being comets in modern understanding. The earliest Chinese record of guest stars is contained in Han Shu (漢書), the history of Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), and all subsequent dynastic histories had such records. These contain one of the clearest early descriptions consistent with a supernova, posited to be left over by object SN 185, thus identified as a supernova remnant of the exact year 185 CE.

Chronicles of the contemporary Ancient Europeans are more vague when consulted for supernovae candidates. Whether due to weather or other reasons for lack of observation, astronomers have questioned why the notable remnant attributed to Chinese observations of a guest star in 1054 AD (see SN 1054), is missing from the European records.

History of science and technology in China

Ancient Chinese scientists and engineers made significant scientific innovations, findings and technological advances across various scientific disciplines including the natural sciences, engineering, medicine, military technology, mathematics, geology and astronomy.

Among the earliest inventions were the abacus, the "shadow clock," and the first items such as Kongming lanterns. The Four Great Inventions,the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing – were among the most important technological advances, only known to Europe by the end of the Middle Ages 1000 years later. The Tang dynasty (AD 618–906) in particular was a time of great innovation. A good deal of exchange occurred between Western and Chinese discoveries up to the Qing dynasty.

The Jesuit China missions of the 16th and 17th centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China, and knowledge of Chinese technology was brought to Europe. In the 19th and 20th centuries the introduction of Western technology was a major factor in the modernization of China. Much of the early Western work in the history of science in China was done by Joseph Needham.

History of supernova observation

The known history of supernova observation goes back to 185 AD, when supernova SN 185 appeared, the oldest appearance of a supernova recorded by humankind. Several additional supernovae within the Milky Way galaxy have been recorded since that time, with SN 1604 being the most recent supernova to be observed in this galaxy.Since the development of the telescope, the field of supernova discovery has expanded to other galaxies. These occurrences provide important information on the distances of galaxies. Successful models of supernova behavior have also been developed, and the role of supernovae in the star formation process is now increasingly understood.

List of supernova remnants

This is a list of observed supernova remnants.

List of supernovae

This is a list of supernovae that are of historical significance. These include supernovae that were observed prior to the availability of photography, and individual events that have been the subject of a scientific paper that contributed to supernova theory.

Outline of astronomy

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to astronomy:

Astronomy – studies the universe beyond Earth, including its formation and development, and the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects (such as galaxies, planets, etc.) and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth (such as the cosmic background radiation).

SN 1054

SN 1054 is a supernova that was first observed on 4 July 1054, and remained visible for around two years.

The event was recorded in contemporary Chinese astronomy, and references to it are also found in a later (13th-century) Japanese document, and in a document from the Arab world. Furthermore, there are a number of proposed, but doubtful, references from European sources recorded in the 15th century, and perhaps a pictograph associated with the Ancestral Puebloan culture found near the Peñasco Blanco site in New Mexico.

The remnant of SN 1054, which consists of debris ejected during the explosion, is known as the Crab Nebula. It is located in the sky near the star Zeta Tauri (ζ Tauri). The core of the exploding star formed a pulsar, called the Crab Pulsar (or PSR B0531+21). The nebula and the pulsar that it contains are some of the most studied astronomical objects outside the Solar System. It is one of the few Galactic supernovae where the date of the explosion is well known. The two objects are the most luminous in their respective categories. For these reasons, and because of the important role it has repeatedly played in the modern era, SN 1054 is the best known supernova in the history of astronomy.

The Crab Nebula is easily observed by amateur astronomers thanks to its brightness, and was also catalogued early on by professional astronomers, long before its true nature was understood and identified. When the French astronomer Charles Messier watched for the return of Halley's Comet in 1758, he confused the nebula for the comet, as he was unaware of the former's existence. Motivated by this error, he created his catalogue of non-cometary nebulous objects, the Messier Catalogue, to avoid such mistakes in the future. The nebula is catalogued as the first Messier object, or M1.

SN 386

SN 386 is a probable transient astronomical event in the constellation Sagittarius, which appeared as a "guest star" that was reported by Chinese astronomers in 386 CE.


A star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other stars are visible to the naked eye from Earth during the night, appearing as a multitude of fixed luminous points in the sky due to their immense distance from Earth. Historically, the most prominent stars were grouped into constellations and asterisms, the brightest of which gained proper names. Astronomers have assembled star catalogues that identify the known stars and provide standardized stellar designations. However, most of the estimated 300 sextillion (3×1023) stars in the Universe are invisible to the naked eye from Earth, including all stars outside our galaxy, the Milky Way.

For at least a portion of its life, a star shines due to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, releasing energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates into outer space. Almost all naturally occurring elements heavier than helium are created by stellar nucleosynthesis during the star's lifetime, and for some stars by supernova nucleosynthesis when it explodes. Near the end of its life, a star can also contain degenerate matter. Astronomers can determine the mass, age, metallicity (chemical composition), and many other properties of a star by observing its motion through space, its luminosity, and spectrum respectively. The total mass of a star is the main factor that determines its evolution and eventual fate. Other characteristics of a star, including diameter and temperature, change over its life, while the star's environment affects its rotation and movement. A plot of the temperature of many stars against their luminosities produces a plot known as a Hertzsprung–Russell diagram (H–R diagram). Plotting a particular star on that diagram allows the age and evolutionary state of that star to be determined.

A star's life begins with the gravitational collapse of a gaseous nebula of material composed primarily of hydrogen, along with helium and trace amounts of heavier elements. When the stellar core is sufficiently dense, hydrogen becomes steadily converted into helium through nuclear fusion, releasing energy in the process. The remainder of the star's interior carries energy away from the core through a combination of radiative and convective heat transfer processes. The star's internal pressure prevents it from collapsing further under its own gravity. A star with mass greater than 0.4 times the Sun's will expand to become a red giant when the hydrogen fuel in its core is exhausted. In some cases, it will fuse heavier elements at the core or in shells around the core. As the star expands it throws a part of its mass, enriched with those heavier elements, into the interstellar environment, to be recycled later as new stars. Meanwhile, the core becomes a stellar remnant: a white dwarf, a neutron star, or, if it is sufficiently massive, a black hole.

Binary and multi-star systems consist of two or more stars that are gravitationally bound and generally move around each other in stable orbits. When two such stars have a relatively close orbit, their gravitational interaction can have a significant impact on their evolution. Stars can form part of a much larger gravitationally bound structure, such as a star cluster or a galaxy.


A supernova ( plural: supernovae or supernovas, abbreviations: SN and SNe) is a transient astronomical event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of the life of a massive star, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final, titanic explosion. This causes the sudden appearance of a "new" bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks or months or years.

Supernovae are more energetic than novae. In Latin, nova means "new", referring astronomically to what appears to be a temporary new bright star. Adding the prefix "super-" distinguishes supernovae from ordinary novae, which are far less luminous. The word supernova was coined by Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky in 1931.

Only three Milky Way, naked-eye supernova events have been observed during the last thousand years, though many have been observed in other galaxies. The most recent directly observed supernova in the Milky Way was Kepler's Supernova in 1604, but the remnants of recent supernovae have also been found. Observations of supernovae in other galaxies suggest they occur on average about three times every century in the Milky Way, and that any galactic supernova would almost certainly be observable with modern astronomical telescopes.

Theoretical studies indicate that most supernovae are triggered by one of two basic mechanisms: the sudden re-ignition of nuclear fusion in a degenerate star or the sudden gravitational collapse of a massive star's core. In the first instance, a degenerate white dwarf may accumulate sufficient material from a binary companion, either through accretion or via a merger, to raise its core temperature enough to trigger runaway nuclear fusion, completely disrupting the star. In the second case, the core of a massive star may undergo sudden gravitational collapse, releasing gravitational potential energy as a supernova. While some observed supernovae are more complex than these two simplified theories, the astrophysical mechanics have been established and accepted by most astronomers for some time.

Supernovae can expel several solar masses of material at speeds up to several percent of the speed of light. This drives an expanding and fast-moving shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium, sweeping up an expanding shell of gas and dust observed as a supernova remnant. Supernovae are a major source of elements in the interstellar medium. The expanding shock waves of supernova can trigger the formation of new stars. Supernova remnants might be a major source of cosmic rays. Supernovae might produce strong gravitational waves, though, thus far, the gravitational waves detected have been from the merger of black holes and neutron stars.

Timeline of stellar astronomy

Timeline of stellar astronomy

2300 BC — First great period of star naming in China.

134 BC — Hipparchus creates the magnitude scale of stellar apparent luminosities

185 AD — Chinese astronomers become the first to observe a supernova, the SN 185

964 — Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (Azophi) writes the Book of Fixed Stars, in which he makes the first recorded observations of the Andromeda Galaxy and the Large Magellanic Cloud, and lists numerous stars with their positions, magnitudes, brightness, and colour, and gives drawings for each constellation

1000s (decade) — The Persian astronomer, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, describes the Milky Way galaxy as a collection of numerous nebulous stars

1006 — Ali ibn Ridwan and Chinese astronomers observe the SN 1006, the brightest stellar event ever recorded

1054 — Chinese and Arab astronomers observe the SN 1054, responsible for the creation of the Crab Nebula, the only nebula whose creation was observed

1181 — Chinese astronomers observe the SN 1181 supernova

1580 — Taqi al-Din measures the right ascension of the stars at the Constantinople Observatory of Taqi ad-Din using an "observational clock" he invented and which he described as "a mechanical clock with three dials which show the hours, the minutes, and the seconds"

1596 — David Fabricius notices that Mira's brightness varies

1672 — Geminiano Montanari notices that Algol's brightness varies

1686 — Gottfried Kirch notices that Chi Cygni's brightness varies

1718 — Edmund Halley discovers stellar proper motions by comparing his astrometric measurements with those of the Greeks

1782 — John Goodricke notices that the brightness variations of Algol are periodic and proposes that it is partially eclipsed by a body moving around it

1784 — Edward Pigott discovers the first Cepheid variable star

1838 — Thomas Henderson, Friedrich Struve, and Friedrich Bessel measure stellar parallaxes

1844 — Friedrich Bessel explains the wobbling motions of Sirius and Procyon by suggesting that these stars have dark companions

1906 — Arthur Eddington begins his statistical study of stellar motions

1908 — Henrietta Leavitt discovers the Cepheid period-luminosity relation

1910 — Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell study the relation between magnitudes and spectral types of stars

1924 — Arthur Eddington develops the main sequence mass-luminosity relationship

1929 — George Gamow proposes hydrogen fusion as the energy source for stars

1938 — Hans Bethe and Carl von Weizsäcker detail the proton-proton chain and CNO cycle in stars

1939 — Rupert Wildt realizes the importance of the negative hydrogen ion for stellar opacity

1952 — Walter Baade distinguishes between Cepheid I and Cepheid II variable stars

1953 — Fred Hoyle predicts a carbon-12 resonance to allow stellar triple alpha reactions at reasonable stellar interior temperatures

1961 — Chūshirō Hayashi publishes his work on the Hayashi track of fully convective stars

1963 — Fred Hoyle and William A. Fowler conceive the idea of supermassive stars

1964 — Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Richard Feynman develop a general relativistic theory of stellar pulsations and show that supermassive stars are subject to a general relativistic instability

1967 — Eric Becklin and Gerry Neugebauer discover the Becklin-Neugebauer Object at 10 micrometres

1977 — (May 25) The Star Wars film is released and became a worldwide phenomenon, boosting interests in stellar systems.

2012 — (May 2) First visual proof of existence of black-holes. Suvi Gezari's team in Johns Hopkins University, using the Hawaiian telescope Pan-STARRS 1, publish images of a supermassive black hole 2.7 million light-years away swallowing a red giant.

Timeline of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and supernovae

Timeline of neutron stars, pulsars, supernovae, and white dwarfs

Note that this list is mainly about the development of knowledge, but also about some supernovae taking place. For a separate list of the latter, see the article List of supernovae. All dates refer to when the supernova was observed on Earth or would have been observed on Earth had powerful enough telescopes existed at the time.

Physics of

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