Attendees of a Royal Astronomical Society meeting in Wales this week are likely abuzz over a study presented yesterday that says there really was a bright star that appeared the day King Charles II was born in May 1630.
Dubbed the royal star, this legendary celestial guest was described as a star shining so bright that it was visible during the day with the naked eye.
“Never [had] any Starre appeared before at the birth of any (the Highest humane Hero) except our Saviour,” English writer Edward Matthew penned in a 1661 pamphlet.
Although most historians thought such stories were royal propaganda, new evidence suggests the “star” may have been a supernova called Cassiopeia A.
(Related: “‘Light Echo’ Helps Solve Supernova Mystery.”)
CassA was once a massive star that ended its life in a violent explosion. According to the new calculations, since light from the blast would have taken about 10,000 years to reach Earth, the supernova would have appeared right around Charles’s 17th-century birth.
Whether the royal story is true or not, it is possible for people on Earth to witness the light from emerging supernovae.