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Such an unprecedented Northern Lights | It is very old and unpublished

A recent discovery turns out to be the oldest aurora ever recorded: more than 2,000 years old

The aurora borealis is one of the rarest and most spectacular atmospheric phenomena to witness. Seeing the color of the sky in the light in person is impressive even today. Not to mention the impact such an event would have had centuries or even thousands of years ago.

What is Aurora?

The spectacular changing effects of the so-called aurora borealis (or australia, if they’re in the southern hemisphere of our planet) are the result of charged particles from the sun being dumped into Earth’s magnetosphere, where oxygen and nitrogen collide and interact. It excites these particles and makes them glow.

The aurora borealis usually appear as shimmering ribbons across the sky, in hues of green, purple, blue, and yellow.

There are different types of auroral displays, such as “diffuse” aurorae (a faint glow near the horizon), the more rare “sit” and “dune” aurorae, and “discrete auroral arcs,” the more intense variety that appears in the sky as shimmering curtains wavering of light. Invisible aurorae can be so bright that you can read a newspaper by their light. This is what happened in August and September of the year 1859, When a major geomagnetic storm occurred – the so-called Carrington Event, the largest ever – which produced dazzling aurora borealis visible across the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia.

New discovery

A pair of researchers identified the oldest description, In an ancient Chinese text, from the previously detected aurora, according to an article published in April in the journal Advances in Space Research. The authors place the likely date of the event at 977 or 957 BC. The most recent description of the aurora is found on Assyrian cuneiform tablets dated between 679-655 BC, three centuries later.

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Independent researcher Marinus Anthony van der Slweg and Hisashi Hayakawa of Nagoya University relied on the ancient text known as the Bamboo Annals for their new analysis.

Bamboo Annals

The Bamboo Annals is a historical story of ancient China, written on strips of bamboo, starting from the era of the Yellow Emperor and ending with the so-called Warring States period (5th century – 221 BC), when rival states were engaged in fierce competition. .

Bamboo Annals

The original text consists of 13 manuscripts were lost during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD). There are still two versions of Bamboo Annals. One is known as the “current text”, and consists of scrolls that were printed at the end of the 16th century. Many scholars believe this text to be a forgery, given the many discrepancies between its text and parts of the original text mentioned in ancient books, although some scholars have argued that some parts may be faithful to the original text. The other must be a copy of the ancient texts.

Millennium dawn

The text describes the appearance of a file “five color light” It can be seen in the northern part of the night sky near the end of King Zhao’s reign of the Zhou Dynasty. Aurorae tend to only be visible in the polar regions because the particles follow Earth’s magnetic field lines, which spread out near the poles. But strong geomagnetic storms can cause auroral ovals to stretch out to lower latitudes, often accompanied by multicolored lights. According to the authors, Earth’s north magnetic pole was about 15 degrees closer to central China in the 10th century BC than it is today, so locals may have witnessed such displays.

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While this is technically an aurora borealis unconfirmed, “The explicit indication of night observation excludes diurnal appearances of atmospheric optics, which sometimes mimic events.”Write the authors. Furthermore it, “Occurrence of a multicolored phenomenon in the northern sky during the night corresponds to auroral displays visible in mid-latitudes”. According to van der Sluijs and Hayakawa, the current 16th-century textual translation of the passage in question described the event like “comet”rather than being a “pentachromatic light”, which is why the aurora borealis have not yet been identified.