A gold coin minted during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX may show a supernova that lit up the sky for more than a year.

Rare Byzantine coin may show ‘forbidden’ supernova explosion from 1054 AD

In 1054 AD, a nearby star ran out of fuel and exploded in a dazzling supernova explosion. Although located 6,500 light-years away, the explosion was clearly visible in the sky above Earth for 23 days and several hundred nights afterwards.

The explosion, now known as SN 1054, was so bright that Chinese astronomers dubbed it a “guest star”, while skywatchers in Japan, Iraq and possibly the Americas recorded the sudden onset of the explosion in writing and in the Pierre. But in Europe — which was largely governed at the time by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX and the Christian Church – the big, dazzling explosion in the sky was never mentioned, not once.

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